President Trump calls for country to 'heal wounds,' 'seek unity'

President Trump calls for country to 'heal wounds,' 'seek unity'
Posted at 2:39 PM, Aug 23, 2017

(CNN) -- Hours after his irate campaign rally in Phoenix, President Donald Trump is calling Wednesday for national healing.

"It is time to heal the wounds that have divided us, and to seek a new unity based on the common values that unite us," Trump said in a speech to the National Convention of the American Legion in Reno, Nevada.

"We are one people, with one home, and one great flag," Trump said.



At least on paper, it's a more conciliatory tone than the overall thrust of his rally in Phoenix, during which he loudly slammed the media, Democrats, and some members of his own party. Trump began on a less divisive note in Arizona, insisting the nation must bridge its racial and cultural divides. But his rally devolved from there into a furious takedown of his perceived enemies.

Trump started his American Legion speech in Reno with kind words for some of his political foes -- a marked departure from last night's attacks on Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain in Phoenix.

Trump pointed out that former Defense Secretary Bob Gates was on hand. "He started off saying bad things about me and then he said great things and now I like him," Trump said.

He also thanked Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval -- who was a vocal opponent of the GOP's health care effort -- for attending.

And he mentioned Republican Sen. Dean Heller, while noting Heller might not have arrived yet, saying, "Dean Heller is here someplace or will shortly be here. He's caught the first flight out. So I want to thank Dean Heller for being here, senator."

In Reno, Trump pointed to veterans as examples of the kind of national pride and unity he says he's trying to inspire.

"We are here to hold you up as an example of the strength, courage and love that our country will need to overcome every challenge that we face. We are here to draw inspiration from you as we seek to renew the bonds of loyalty that bind us together as one people and one nation," Trump said.

After his speech, Trump plans to sign into law a measure that makes it easier for veterans to appeal decisions on disability claims through the Department of Veterans Affairs. A White House spokesman said there are currently 470,000 veterans waiting to hear a decision on their appeal claims.

His message to veterans comes the same week he announced a new plan for the US' strategy in Afghanistan.

On Monday evening, Trump addressed a military fatigues-clad audience and said the US would replace the currently enacted time-based approach with a conditional based approach.

Following his speech on Monday, Trump reiterated his commitment to the military when speaking to the crowd of supporters in Phoenix.

"Last night, as you know, I laid out my vision for an honorable and enduring outcome in a very tough place, a place where our country has failed: Afghanistan," Trump said at Tuesday's campaign rally. Later adding: "I will tell you, what we're going to do with our incredible military, they're going to make unbelievable sacrifices and they've already made in some cases the ultimate sacrifice, but we're fighting for them."

Also while in Arizona, Trump visited Yuma -- where he met with border control and ICE agents.

Trump's speech on Tuesday displayed a notably different tone compared to his announcement on Monday, and came just a week after Trump was widely criticizedfor not effectively condemning violence at a white supremacy rally the previous weekend by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Trump also addressed the criticism in his Tuesday night speech and called out the media for what he described as unfair coverage of his response.

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