President Trump at a cabinet meeting Wednesday said the 5-percent budget cut request would not apply to the Pentagon, adding he raised the annual Department of Defense budget from $520 billion to above $700 billion.
PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: Thank you very much, Larry. Appreciate it. And I think Larry is going to be very happy with what I'm going to say. I might as well leave the press to say it because it will put more pressure on all of the people gathered around our table.
I'm going to ask each of you to come back with a 5-percent budget cut from your various departments. Whether it's a secretary, an administrator, whatever, I'm going to ask everybody with a 5-percent cut for our next meeting. I think you'll all be able to do it. There may be a special exemption, perhaps. I don't know who that exception would be. If you can do more than five -- some of you will say, "Hey, I can do much more than five."
You know, I've heard about the penny plan for 15 years. One penny every year per dollar -- one penny every year -- after four or five years, the country is in good shape. I'm saying, let's not do the penny plan; let's do the five-penny plan. I think you can do it.
So I'd like to have everyone sitting around the table -- your incredible domains that you preside over so brilliantly, in some cases. In some cases very well; in some cases brilliantly. I would like you to come back with a 5-percent cut. Get rid of the fat. Get rid of the waste. And I'm sure you can do it. I'm sure everybody at this table can do it. It will have a huge impact.
Last budget we had to go -- because of the military -- we had to fix our military. Our military is in the process of being fixed. Planes are being made. Boats are being made. Ships are being made. Missiles, rockets, everything. Our nuclear is being brought to a level that nobody else could even imagine. Pray to God we don't have to use it. But there will be nothing like what we have, and there is nothing like what we have.
And that's why I did that. I made deals with the devil in order to get that done, because we had to improve our military. Our military was depleted. It was in bad shape. Our great people in the military hadn't received a wage increase in more than 10 years. Now they're getting an increase. First time in more than 10 years.
So I wanted to do that and -- in order to get that done -- because the Democrats won't vote for the military. They don't like the military. They don't like law enforcement. They don't like borders.
You see what's happening with the border, where people are coming up in caravans and we have to stop them even though the laws are terrible. The laws are terrible. Our laws are terrible. They're a laughingstock all over the world. And we're supposed to stop people with laws that aren't very good, but we're doing better than anybody else could possibly even think about.
But I'd like you all to come back with a 5-percent cut. And I think if you can do more than that, we will be very happy. There are some people sitting at the table -- I'm not going to point you out -- but there are some people that can really do substantially more than that. Because now that we have our military taken care of, we have our law enforcement taken care of, we can do things that we really weren't in a position to do when I first came.
So we'll see you at the next meeting. I'll see you many times before. I'm sure I'll speak to all of you during this term. But that's a very, very important request that I'm making of everybody sitting around this table. It's tremendous amounts of money, and it's something that we can do.
And I believe we could actually do it, easily. So rather than go by the penny plan, we'll call it the nickel plan. At least it will be a one-year nickel plan. We may do another nickel plan next year too.
Thank you all very much. To the press, thank you very much.
REPORTER: Mr. President, does that include the Defense Department, sir? The 5-percent cut.
TRUMP: We know what the budget -- the new budget is for the Defense Department. It will probably be $700 billion. So it's 716; it was 700 -- 716. And that's a very substantial number but it's defense. It's very important. I mean, to us, without defense, maybe the rest of it doesn't mean very much.
But if you know, it was a $520 [billion] a very short while ago. And the reason I brought it up to 700 and then 716 was to build new ships. We're building new, incredible submarines, the finest in the world. The most powerful in the world, anywhere, ever.
We're doing things that we have never done on this scale. So that included a lot of rebuilding of our military. So despite that, I'm going to keep that at $700 billion -- defense. Okay?
Watch the full cabinet meeting: