By Ashley Hoffman
November 23, 2018

President Donald Trump says he is most thankful for his family and what he called “the tremendous difference” he has made in America, while speaking at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida on Thursday.

Responding to a reporter who asked what he wanted to give thanks for on his Thanksgiving call with media and military members, he said: “For having a great family and for having made a tremendous difference in this country. I’ve made a tremendous difference in the country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn’t believe it.”

He continued: “And I mean, you see, but so much stronger … people can’t even believe it. When I see foreign leaders, they say we cannot believe the difference in strength between the United States now and the United States two years ago,” he continued. “Made a lot of progress.”

Trump also broke with tradition by using the annual Thanksgiving Day call to members of a number of military branches by choosing to bridge military efforts at the U.S.-Mexico border with efforts of his own. At one point, he criticized federal courts for blocking his proclamation aimed at asylum-seeking migrants.

“It’s a terrible thing when judges take over your protective services, when they tell you how to protect your border. It’s a disgrace,” he said.

He also had remarks on the economy.

“I hope that you’ll take solace in knowing that all of the American families you hold so close to your heart are all doing well,” he said. “The nation’s doing well economically, better than anybody in the world.”

He did offer others words of praise for those helping with the deadly wildfires on the West Coast in a video message posted to Twitter.

“We thank every firefighter, first responder, and law enforcement officer who raced into danger to save so many lives. These are brave people, these are great people, these are special people.”

Write to Ashley Hoffman at Ashley.Hoffman@time.com.

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