President Donald Trump blasted the United States’ defense spending in a Monday morning tweet, despite long being a champion for increased military spending.
Trump took to Twitter to say that the U.S. has spent $716 billion on defense this year—an amount he called “crazy.” However, last August, the president signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which approved that exact amount for defense spending in the fiscal year 2019.
At the time, Trump said the increase in spending was to provide the U.S. military with resources “better than any military on earth.” The bill provided the largest military pay raise in nine years.
On Monday, Trump seemed to have a change of heart, lamenting the country’s high defense spending and blaming it on an arms race with Russia and China. The president said he would aim to meet with the leaders of these two nations “at some time in the future” to stop the “uncontrollable Arms Race.”
I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race. The U.S. spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2018
The Trump administration has been critical of Russia’s ballistic missile program recently, even threatening to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in October. China, too, has upped its military development in recent years.
Defense spending is at record highs around the world, with China’s military budget falling just behind that of the U.S. at $228 billion in 2017. The U.S. spends about 17% of its $4 trillion federal budget on national defense.