President Donald Trump Saturday called his nine-day tour of the Middle East and Europe a "home run," while affirming his commitment to increasing military spending and supporting the armed forces.
"Our travels took us to some of the holiest sites in the three Abrahamic religions and to gatherings of both America’s oldest and newest friends," Trump said in a speech to members of the military at the Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily. "We traveled the world to strengthen long-standing alliances and to form a new partnership among nations devoted to the task of eradicating the terrorism that plagues our planet."
Trump and wife Melania are heading back to Washington after their travels to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, and Belgium. After Trump received a royal welcome in Saudi Arabia, where he signed a multi-billion dollar arms deal, he went on to the Vatican for a meeting with the Pope, then to Brussels for a NATO summit, finishing up his trip in Sicily for a G7 meeting.
On Saturday, he reaffirmed his vow to wipe out terrorism, following the deadly attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt.
"Together, civilized nations will crush the terrorists, and block their funding, and strip them of their territory and drive them out of this Earth," said Trump. "The nations of the Middle East have endured one terrorist attack after another. I call on them to take on the burden of fighting this evil that has killed so many innocent Muslims."
He also spoke of the NATO summit, where he gave a speech on Thursday demanding the member states meet their financial commitments to defense spending.
"The U.S. is currently paying much more than any other nations," said Trump. "That's not fair for the United States or the United States' taxpayers. We'll work on it. I will tell you a big difference over the last year. Money is actually starting to pour into NATO from countries that would not have been doing what they're doing now, had I not been elected, I can tell you that."
Trump said he also made "great progress toward very, very vital goals" at the G7 summit in Italy.
"I laid out my vision for economic growth and fair trade and supportive of good paying jobs and even great paying, middle class jobs and more," said Trump. "I called for much greater security and cooperation on matters of terrorism and immigration, migration, to protect our citizens."
Overall, he concluded, "we made extraordinary gains on this historic trip...we paved the way for new era cooperations among the world to defeat the common enemy of terrorism."
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