President Obama said Monday that he's had enough of "some people" trash-talking the U.S. military, his latest attempt to warn voters about Donald Trump without specifically naming the GOP nominee.
"As commander in chief, I'm pretty tired of some people trash-talking America's military and troops," Obama told the Disabled American Veterans group during their annual gathering in Atlanta on Monday.
"Our military is somewhat smaller after two major ground wars come to a close, that's natural," he added. "But let's get some facts straight: America's Army is the best-trained, best-equipped land force on the planet; our Navy is the largest and most lethal in the world; the precision of and reach of our Air Force is unmatched; our Marines are the world's only truly expeditionary force; we have the world's finest Coast Guard; we have the most capable fighting force in history, and we're going to keep it that way."
"No ally or adversary should ever doubt our strength and our resolve," Obama added.
"We will keep pounding ISIL … we will destroy this barbaric terrorist group — they will be destroyed," he said.
"In the face of Russian aggression, we're not going to turn our back to our allies in Europe," he said, referencing Trump's suggestion that the U.S. leave the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. "We're going to stay united in NATO, which is the world's strongest alliance.
"From the Asian Pacific, to Africa, to the Americas, the United States and our Armed Forces will remain the greatest force for freedom and security and peace that the world has ever known," he said. "That is your legacy. That is what we have to protect and that is what we have to defend."
Obama ticked off the improvements he has made to the Veterans Affairs and chastised Republicans for not fully funding his budget request for the department.
"We have to keep fighting for the resources you need," he told the disabled veterans. "Now since I took office, we've made historic increases in veteran's funding; the biggest boost in decades. That's a fact. And I've proposed another increase for next year. But I do have to point this out. Republicans in Congress have proposed cutting my VA budget. And when they return in the fall, they should pass the budget our veterans need, and fund it fully."
"Don't just talk about standing with veterans; don't just talk about me," he added. "Do something to support our veterans. That's what you need to do."
Obama said overhauling the VA after numerous scandals is a work in progress.
"Now, we also need to keep fixing the problems that came to light: long wait times, veterans denied care, people manipulating the books — inexcusable," he said. "I want to repeat, we've hired thousands more doctors, nurses, staff, opened more clinical space" and added a new program to allow soldiers to be seen outside of the VA system. "It all adds up to millions more appointments, delivering more benefits to more veterans than ever before. That is progress," he said.
Obama said the surge in demand has not abated.
"And this surge in demand means there are now more veterans waiting for appointments, even though we've done a lot more," he said. "So I know I'm not satisfied;" VA Secretary Robert McDonald is "still not satisfied. And we will not let up."
"But I have to say, here's one thing I need to be very clear about; here's one thing we will not do: We cannot outsource and privatize health care for American's veterans," Obama said. "You know there are folks who keep pushing this. They don't always come out and say the word 'privatize,' but when you read what they say, that's what they mean. And these radical proposals would begin to dismantle the VA health-care system that millions of veterans depend on every day. And that would hurt veterans."
"Study after study shows that in many areas like mental health, the quality of care is often better than in private care," Obama said. "So let's listen to our veterans who are telling us, 'don't destroy VA health care. Fix it and make it work. But don't break our covenant with our veterans.'"