President Barack Obama speaks in front of Marines on Aug. 7 in Camp Pendleton, Calif. (Gregory Bull / AP)
Speaking to Marines at Camp Pendleton in California, President Obama said Wednesday he would keep battling two very different challenges to the military: Budget cuts and sexual assault.
Obama said the ongoing set of automatic budget cuts known as the sequester may be undermining military readiness.
“Hardworking folks are getting furloughed, families getting by on less, fewer ships available for your training exercises, the commissary your families rely on closed a day a week,” Obama told the troops. “We can do better than that. That’s not how a great nation should be treating its military and military families.”
Citing the impact of the sequester on such other items as education and health care, Obama said, “that’s why I’m going to keep on working to get rid of the sequester.”
Speaking to a crowd that included two House Republicans — Darrell Issa and Dana Rohrabacher — Obama also said, “what makes me frustrated is sometimes the very folks who say they stand with our military proudly are the same ones who are standing in the way of fixing the sequester.”
Obama also gave the troops a stern warning about sexual assault.
“It undermines what this military stands for and it undermines what the Marine Corps stands for when sexual assault takes place within our units,” Obama said. “And that’s why we are going to work together — all of us — to stop these crimes of sexual assault, and uphold the honor and the integrity that defines the finest military on Earth.
“And that message is coming all the way from the top.”