Trump touts plan to build 350 warships as he prepares to lay out vision for first 100 days as president

The ships would be constructed with ‘US steel’, he says

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 October, 2016, 2:00pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 October, 2016, 11:39pm

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to build 350 new warships for the US Navy.

Trump’s vision for the nation’s military was touted at a rally in Pennsylvania’s politically crucial Bucks County and came ahead of a plan to set out a positive vision for his first 100 days as US president.

Trump told a rally crowd of several thousand Friday that his plan represents the “largest effort at rebuilding our military since Ronald Reagan” and would help boost jobs. The ships would be constructed at dry docks in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Virginia and built with “US steel”.

Trump is also pressing the need for major investments in the nation’s infrastructure, including roads and bridges he says are “falling apart.”

He says he’d pay for the investments with a combination of funding options, including public-private partnerships and tax incentives.

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United States Navy fleet consists of roughly 430 ships in active service or reserve, and Trump’s call to build more warships come as rival nations China and Russia expand their own naval forces.

Trump plans to describe his early goals during remarks Saturday in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania -

best known as the site of a decisive Civil War battle and cemetery, and the place where Republican President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous address.

With less than three weeks until the November 8 US presidential election, Trump has warned will be “rigged”, he’s spent recent days stoking doubts about whether he’ll accept the outcome of the vote if he loses.

He said at the final general election debate on Wednesday he would look at the outcome at the time and keep Americans “in suspense”. On Thursday, campaigning in Ohio, he said he “would accept a clear election result but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.”

Political observers from both major parties have warned that Trump’s handling of the issue at the debate threatens democratic norms, and that while voter fraud has been known to happen on a small scale, his prediction that widespread cheating could be pulled off to tip a national race is unfounded.

Clinton at the debate called his answer “horrifying.” As she’s tried to retain her lead in election forecasts, she and her allies have been coping with what they say is attempted election interference: the hacking of campaign chairman John Podesta’s personal e-mail, which the campaign again on Thursday blamed on Russia.

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Trump has been losing ground in election forecasts since the first debate on September 26. In the days after Clinton in that forum highlighted his treatment of women, Trump faced heightened scrutiny, the leak of a 2005 hot-mic tape in which he bragged about being able to grope women, and accusations of sexual assault from several women that he’s denied.

However Trump has gained on his Democratic rival among American voters this week, cutting her lead nearly in half, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling released on Friday.

Clinton led Trump 44 per cent to 40 per cent, according to the October 14-20 Reuters/Ipsos poll, a 4-point lead. That compared with 44 per cent for Clinton and 37 per cent for Trump in the October 7-13 poll released last week.

An average of national opinion polls by RealClearPolitics shows Clinton 6.2 percentage points ahead at 48.1 per cent support to Trump’s 41.9 per cent.

Associated Press, Bloomberg, Reuters