NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — President Trump will visit the Navy’s most expensive warship here on Thursday, just days after calling for a $54 billion increase in military spending and vowing that under his leadership America will “win again.”
The president will tour the Gerald R. Ford, the military’s newest and most technologically advanced aircraft carrier, which is docked at the shipyard here and is scheduled to be commissioned this year.
The visit is intended to underscore Mr. Trump’s message during Tuesday’s speech to Congress in which he vowed to “provide the men and women of the United States military with the tools they need to prevent war” and added, “if they must — they have to fight and they only have to win.”
In the speech, Mr. Trump added that he intended to send lawmakers a budget that “calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.” (In fact, his proposal for a 10 percent increase is large, but not historic.)
Lawmakers in both parties have already expressed deep skepticism about Mr. Trump’s military spending proposal, in part because of its potential to increase the nation’s deficit and in part because of the administration’s assertion that it would deeply slash nonmilitary spending to compensate.
But the president’s desire to expand the military was a core promise during his campaign for the White House. In particular, Mr. Trump often called for a larger Navy, noting that the fleet is smaller — and, he suggests, weaker — than it has been in decades.
Critics argue that the Navy, while smaller, has become more efficient and effective despite the reduction in the overall number of ships. They note that the current generation of warships is far more capable than its predecessors.
Mr. Trump will use the backdrop of the Ford, which cost nearly $13 billion and took more than a decade to build, as the ultimate prop in his public relations campaign to make the case for more government spending on a bigger military, including the Navy.
American politicians often seek to associate themselves with the country’s enormous, gleaming war machines. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, announced his choice of Speaker Paul D. Ryan as his running mate on the retired battleship Wisconsin.
But sometimes the moment goes awry. In 2003, President George W. Bush stood on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to declare that the military phase of the Iraq war was over. He spoke in front of a banner that proclaimed “Mission Accomplished.” The war continued for years.
Aides to Mr. Trump are hoping that the images of the president on the Ford are more positive.
The president’s daily schedule says Mr. Trump will receive an operations meeting and a briefing from the carrier’s leadership before taking a tour and giving remarks.