Trump to call for eliminating the sequester on defense spending

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Donald Trump will call for eliminating the sequester on defense spending and bolstering the US’ defenses by proposing a “major investment” in US military spending in a speech Wednesday morning, his campaign announced Tuesday.

A Trump campaign aide said in a call with reporters Tuesday night that the Republican presidential nominee will call for repealing the budget sequestration act that slashed defense spending and passing a new budget to rebuild what Trump has described as severely damaged and underprepared.

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The businessman is set to deliver a speech Wednesday morning at the Union League of Philadelphia.

Trump’s call for eliminating the sequester cuts to defense spending sits in stark contrast to Trump’s initial reaction to the sequester’s across-the-board cuts, which Trump downplayed weeks before they went into effect.

“It’s a very small percentage of the cuts that should be made. And I think, really, it’s being over-exaggerated,” Trump told Fox News in February 2013. “Frankly, this is a very minor amount of the cuts that have to be made, ultimately, and a lot of people are saying that.”

Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic rival, also supports ending the sequester on military spending.

“Here’s what we have to do — we can’t lose our military edge. That means giving the Pentagon the stable, predictable funding it needs to make smart investments,” she said last week at the American Legion in Cincinnati. “We cannot impose arbitrary limits on something as important as our military. That makes no sense at all. The sequester makes our country less secure. Let’s end it and get a budget deal that supports America’s military, our families and our country. And let’s make reform a priority, so that the Defense Department spends its budget on the right things.”

Trump will also continue to distinguish his foreign policy vision from Hillary Clinton‘s, whom Trump described Tuesday night as favoring “military adventurism.”

The campaign said Trump will call for increasing the number of military ships and planes as well as bolstering missile defense systems and sea-based missile defense.

While Trump and his advisers have argued that Clinton did not learn from the mistakes of the Iraq War, which she voted for as a senator, and drove the US into another blunder by arguing in favor of military intervention in Libya, Trump supported both of those military interventions.

Despite his words to the contrary on the campaign trail, Trump said he favored invading Iraq one month before Congress voted to authorize the use of military force and continued to praise the invasion in its first months. He also called on the US to intervene militarily in Libya to stem the worsening humanitarian situation in the country.