President Donald Trump told graduates from the West Point Military Academy on Saturday that their mission will be to defend "America's vital interests" and not fight "in endless wars" on faraway lands.
This came after Trump came under criticism in the past few days for withdrawing thousands of soldiers from Germany, as his plans to withdraw 9,500 soldiers, redeploy them to Poland and elsewhere have irritated German officials and fueled Congressional fears of a diminished US role on the world stage.
In his speech delivered at the start of the celebration of the Military Academy in front of more than a thousand graduates, who stood in a way that preserves the measures of social divergence, Trump said that the job of the American soldier is not to rebuild foreign countries but rather "to defend and defend our country from foreign enemies."
"We are ending the era of endless wars," Trump said, adding that the job of US forces is not "to solve old conflicts in faraway lands that many people have not even heard of."
Trump withdrew his forces as president from Syria.
In a relatively rare criticism by his party, 22 Republican lawmakers from the House Armed Forces Committee wrote a letter to Trump saying that reducing troops in Germany was harmful to national security, and perhaps encouraging Russian aggression.
Trump arrived in West Point at a time of tension with U.S. military leaders over whether the military should be used to quell protests across the country over the death of George Floyd.
General Mark Milli, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday that he made the mistake of joining Trump in marching to a church to take pictures after authorities dispersed protesters near the White House with gas and rubber bullets.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper also disagreed with Trump about whether soldiers should be deployed to take control of cities undergoing massive protests, but Trump then expressed confidence in Esper and set aside Millie's comments.