President Donald Trump made his first visit to the headquarters Monday for U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command.
A room full of troops in fatigues from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines sat down to eat with the president, as well as senior members of his White House staff.
- President Trump lunches with troops, meets with governor
- Air Force One landed about 11:30 a.m.
- VIDEO: Watch Trump's full remarks
- More stories on our D.C. Digest Page
At MacDill, the president was briefed by CENTCOM and SOCOM leaders. The president also met with Gov. Rick Scott.
"To these forces of death and destruction, American and its allies will defeat you. We will defeat radical Islamic terrorism," Trump said.
"Those at CENTCOM .... have bravely battled a vicious enemy that has no respect for life," he said.
Air Force One landed about 11:30 a.m. Monday. Trump made small talk with some of the soldiers, discussing everything from football to military careers.
"Gonna make it a career?" Trump asked one person. "C'mon, you have to stay," he urged another.
President Trump spent about 15 minutes addressing commanders and coalition forces. During his remarks, he thanked many in the audience, including Gov. Scott.
"We had a wonderful election didn't we?" Trump said. "I saw those numbers. You liked me and I liked you."
The president said he'd do everything he could to make sure forces defending the United States had the most and best equipment possible.
"Our administration is at your service. We stand with you 100%. We will protect those who protect us and we will never, ever let you down," Trump said. "As your president, I have no higher duty than to protect the American people. We have to defend our nation, and we will do that, believe me."
In the background of the president's visit was the legal challenge to his executive order that put a hold on people entering the U.S. from seven countries he deemed hotbeds for terrorists.
It was overturned by a federal district judge in Washington state on Friday.
The president briefly touched on these developments, as well as his controversial stance on refugees.
"We need strong programs so that people that love us and want to love our country and will end up loving our country are allowed in, not people that want to destoy us and destroy our country," said Trump.
Over the weekend, Vice President Mike Pence seemed confident the White House would get the travel restrictions back in place.
"As your president, I have no higher duty than to protect the American people. We have to defend our nation, and we will do that, believe me." - President Donald Trump during Monday's remarks
"President Trump has made it clear he is going to put safety and security of the American people first, and the executive order he signed suspending travel from countries that have been compromised by terrorists is consistent with that objective," Pence said.
"It is quite clear that the president has the ability to determine who has access to this country when it comes to national security."
The Justice Department filed an emergency motion in federal court just after midnight Sunday, but the appeals court decided not to hear the case on an emergency basis. It said it needed more time to review the issue.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.