FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- President Trump became the fourth consecutive sitting president to visit Fort Drum Monday.
The president flew into Fort Drum just after 2 p.m. and was greeted by Fort Drum Commanding General Walter Piatt. He was also greeted by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who invited the president to the post.
He spoke in front of a crowd of 10th Mountain Division soldiers. The president talked about some of the finer points of the National Defense Authorization Act, which he signed into law.
It includes more than $700 billion in funding where military members will receive a 2.6 percent raise as part of the bill.
There will also be new equipment designed to make sure soldiers have access to the best technology around the world.
He thanked the soldiers at Fort Drum for their hard work, and service, especially during deployments.
"Cause each of you is mountain tough, mountain proud and mountain strong and always will be climbing to glory. Thank you again to the incredible men and women of Fort Drum, special, special people, God bless our troops God bless the United States of America," the president said.
The visit is one of his more extensive trips through Upstate New York since becoming president, a swing that will mix both policy and politics and take him from the North Country to the Mohawk Valley.
Vice President Mike Pence also accompanied the president in his visit to New York.
After his stop in Fort Drum, the president headed to a fundraiser in Utica to drum up support for Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney, who faces a competitive midterm race against Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi to hang onto her seat.
Collins’s decision on Saturday to step aside virtually dashes any need for Trump to make a public statement in support of Collins, the first member of Congress to endorse his bid for the presidency. The famously off-script president didn’t say anything about the situation while on post, however.
The president is broadly unpopular in New York overall — not surprising given the state’s heavy Democratic enrollment. But Trump remains popular with Republicans, especially those in Upstate New York, where he won the bulk of the counties over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
And with the Republican base, Trump remains wildly popular, making a visit to a congressional district especially key for a sitting member of Congress for his own party. And this was doubly true for a president, who enjoys the pomp of a military-themed visit.
For Stefanik, the president’s trip to Fort Drum is especially important. President Obama visited the facility in 2011 and it remains an important installation for the military in New York after a decade of base closings.
The House member who represents Fort Drum in Congress has been looked to on military issues, automatically elevated to key committee assignments. Traditionally it’s been a Republican district, though that changed briefly after Obama nominated then-Rep. John McHugh to become secretary of the Army and Democrat Bill Owens won the seat.
Stefanik is seeking re-election this year for a third term, facing Democrat Tedra Cobb.