Trump to speak about military plans at USS Gerald R. Ford

12 p.m. ET President Donald Trump is traveling to Newport News, Va., on Thursday afternoon to pitch his plans for a substantial increase in the defense budget.

The Gerald R. Ford carrier, which has been under construction since 2009, is expected to be commissioned this summer.

The Navy had 204 surface warships out of its total 774 active ships in 1918 when that war ended, though ship technology has changed over the past century and a direct comparison to today's high-tech warships is not exact, according the Naval History and Heritage Command.

President Trump will use a hulking, gleaming aircraft carrier as a backdrop as he visits a shipyard here Thursday to rally momentum for his ambitious call for a major hike in military spending.

The president stated before an audience of sailors that his budget proposal to invest $54 billion into defense spending.

Arriving on the almost $13 billion USS Gerald R. Ford warship by helicopter, Trump called the vessel "American craftsmanship at its biggest and "a monument to American might" that will project the nation's power overseas".

Trump praised the Ford as "American craftsmanship at its biggest, its best, its finest", and "a monument of American might", while promising that "we're going to soon have more coming", referring to the Navy's new Ford-class of aircraft carriers.

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Trump also mentioned his red caps, which became synonymous with his campaign and presidency, but said he had opted not to wear the "Make America Great Again" cap, preferring the Navy cap he'd been gifted.

The gear was gifted to Trump upon his arrival, he said, and carried on a long tradition of presidents wearing the Navy gear during visits.

"We will give our military the tools you need to prevent war and, if required, to fight war and only do one thing: win." he continued. But for now, he is upbeat, especially when it comes to Trump's plans.

Trump said America has always led, and will continue to do so. The Navy now has 274 deployable battle force ships.

Decked out in a hat with the Ford's image and logo, as well as a military-style jacket, Trump celebrated the ability of aircraft carriers "to project American power in distant lands".

"Show me the money", said Donald Jones, a 60-year-old sheet metal mechanic from Portsmouth/ "We're glad he's here".

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