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September 07, 2016

At Union League in Philadelphia, Trump outlines 10-point national security plan

Republican candidate also says NATO will pay its fair share

Donald Trump outlined his national security proposals during a speech from Lincoln Hall at the Union League of Philadelphia.

The Republican presidential nominee said he is proposing "a new foreign policy" focused on advancing U.S. interests, building regional stability and easing global tensions. He said he wants "a stable, peaceful world with less conflict and more common ground."

As part of his 10-point plan, Trump said he will build an active Army of about 540,000, build a state-of-the-art missile defense system and ask the nation's generals to present a plan within 30 days of taking office to defeat and destroy ISIS. His plan will also substantially expand the U.S. defense arsenal of submarines and ships.

"Our actions in the Middle East will be tempered by realism," Trump said, blaming the strategies by President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for creating "power vacuums that are filled by terrorists."

While he criticized the Obama's administration's treaty with Iran, claiming it will result in that country's rise to a nuclear power, Trump said he is willing to work with new allies.

"We should work with any country that shares our goal of destroying ISIS and defeating radical Islamic terrorism," he said.

He also proposed eliminating "sequester" military cuts enacted in 2011 and enhancing the country's sea-based missile defense. And Trump said he will combat terrorist groups on military fronts, as well as through cyber- and ideological-warfare.

The United States must convince its enemies that "our way of life is the best in the world ... Just like we did against communism in the Cold War," Trump said.

The speech came several hours before Trump will appear on a "commander-in-chief" forum broadcast by NBC.

Trump was about 10 minutes into his speech before he mentioned Clinton by name, attacking her for emails she sent and received as secretary of state. Trump claimed Clinton staffers "acid-washed" electronic files and smashed old phones with hammers to protect her.

"She put her emails on a private server to protect her pay-for-play policies in the U.S. State Department," Trump said later.

It wasn't among the proposals published by his campaign, but Trump also said that as president he would ensure all NATO members will pay their fair share to police the world.

"They will do it. They will be happy to do it," Trump said.

He continued: "I will be respectful in asking countries, such as Germany, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, to pay more for the security we provide them, and they will fully understand. They are economic behemoths."

Just prior to his speech, the Trump campaign released a statement from Rep. Scott Perry, R-4th, whose district covers Harrisburg and portions of south central Pennsylvania, including York and Hanover. Perry said:

"With Donald Trump receiving the endorsement of 88 retired generals and admirals, the American people know that he's ready to lead our nation on day one as commander-in-chief. He's the only candidate focused on eliminating the threat of ISIS, strengthening U.S. preparedness and restoring our military capabilities. In a Clinton administration our military resources will continue to be depleted just as they've been by President Obama over the past eight years."

Trump has faced sharp criticism regarding his foreign policy acumen, as opponents question whether he has the temperament to handle the country's nuclear arsenal and make sound judgments on international issues. 

The Hillary Clinton campaign cited this criticism in a statement released before his appearance.

"Trump has demonstrated he is fundamentally unprepared to lead our country by saying he knows more about ISIS than our generals and by picking fights with our allies across the globe," said Corey Dukes, director of Clinton's Pennsylvania campaign. 

A group of veterans protested outside the Union League, a traditionally Republican club on South Broad Street in Center City that formed in 1862 as a patriotic society to support the Union and the policies of President Abraham Lincoln. 

The speech marked the second time in six days that Trump has campaigned in Philadelphia. He held a roundtable discussion on Friday with several black community leaders.

Trump received some good news on Tuesday — a CNN poll shows him leading Clinton by two percentage points.