In an address in which bragged about a soaring stock market, record job figures, and “big, beautiful fat tax cuts” the military personnel could look forward to at home, he also claimed US forces were repeatedly defeating Isis militants – something he also sought to take credit for.
“We opened it up; we said go ahead, we’re going to fight to win. We’re not fighting any more to just walk around, we are fighting to win,” he said, speaking in a live video teleconference from Palm Beach, Florida, with military serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. He did not mention Mr Obama by name.
“Everybody’s talking about the progress you’ve made in the last few months since I opened it up.”
He claimed US marines had scored “defeat after defeat” on Isis, something he said was possible because of a strategy he put in place. He said they were “fighting for something good”.
“They weren’t letting you win before; they were letting you break even,” he said. “They weren’t letting you win.”
Mr Trump, whose approval rating remains at a record low, spoke at he prepared to spend the Thanksgiving Day holiday at his estate at Mar-a-Lago. Before leaving Washington he vowed to work over the holiday break, but soon after his arrival in Florida, Mr Trump headed to one of his favourite golf courses.
Later, Mr Trump and the First Lady, Melania Trump, handed out sandwiches and shook hands at a Coast Guard station in Riviera Beach and told personnel his administration was building up wealth so it could protect the country through military acquisitions.
The Associated Press said the President talked about his plans to boost military spending ,saying contractors saved the best equipment for US forces. “When we sell to other countries – you never know about an ally – an ally can turn,” he said.
The President said he had discussed the purchase of new planes with some air force personnel and asked them how they would perform in a dog fight such as those he had watched in films. “They said, ‘Well, it wins every time because the enemy cannot see it, even if it’s right next to it, it can’t see it’,” said Mr Trump.
He also praised their work tackling the devastation caused by storms in Florida and Texas, and made a cursory mention of Puerto Rico, where his administration’s response has been widely criticised.
Earlier, in his speech to troops, Mr Trump cleared the media out after about 10 minutes so he could have “very confidential, personal conversations” with those on the line. Recycling a line from his time on The Apprentice, he told the reporters “You’re fired”, and also wished them a happy Thanksgiving holiday.