President Trump: America is safe because Coast Guard is 'strong'

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says America is safe because the U.S. Coast Guard is "strong."

President Trump calls the Coast Guard the "elite force" that defends borders, patrols the waters, protects U.S. cities and keeps enemies at bay.

He spoke Friday while presiding over a Coast Guard change-of-command ceremony in Washington.

Adm. Karl Schultz became the 26th Coast Guard commandant, succeeding Adm. Paul Zukunft.

President Trump thanked Zukunft for a "lifetime of noble service" and expressed "complete confidence" that Schultz will carry out his new responsibilities with "character, strength and devotion."

President Trump recalled watching the Coast Guard last year after powerful hurricanes struck Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. President Trump says no brand has gained more than the Coast Guard and that the public has "tremendous respect" for it.