MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz laid out his vision for bolstering the U.S. military on an aircraft carrier in South Carolina Tuesday, vowing to rebuild the military so “it will be feared by our enemies and trusted by our allies.”

In a nod to South Carolina’s sizeable military and veteran population, Cruz said he would model his approach to the military on that of former President Ronald Reagan. He did not put a price tag on the expansion he envisioned, but said he would pay for it by cutting federal spending by at least $500 billion, selling federal assets and properties and auditing the Pentagon to find savings.

“If you think it’s too expensive to defend this nation, try not defending it,” Cruz said. “This will be a challenge and involve difficult choices.”

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Elsewhere on the campaing trail Tuesday:

  • Donald Trump has taken issue with a protester who flipped two middle fingers at him at his rally in North Augusta, S.C. The protester held up a hand-written sign that read: “Keep America Great. Keep All Immigrants.” The individual was surrounded, a scuffle ensued, and the sign was taken down by other rally attendees. “Oh, that’s class,” Trump said as the protester was escorted out of the event. “Isn’t that terrible?” The crowd roared in agreement.
  • Marco Rubio says he’s planning to release his tax returns “any day” — or even “momentarily.” The Republican presidential candidate did not specify a release date as he campaigned in South Carolina. He released several years of returns during his 2010 Senate campaign, but has yet to release any returns beyond the 2009 tax year.
  • Jeb Bush said his mother, Barbara Bush, will campaign for him in South Carolina with days to go until the state’s Republican primary. The former Florida governor said his mother, the former First Lady, would join him on the road as she did ahead of the New Hampshire primary. Campaign spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said Barbara Bush would come to South Carolina on Thursday and stay through Saturday.
  • Republican presidential candidate John Kasich said Americans have drifted apart and are divided by the cable television news programs that they watch. The Ohio governor concluded a two-day campaign swing through Michigan, where he’s telling voters that the country must unite again. He saidt all citizens should play a role in fixing education, and addressed drug and poverty problems in their communities.
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is looking to connect with black voters in South Carolina, attending a prayer breakfast with African-American ministers. The Democratic presidential candidate also appeared at the University of South Carolina with Erica Garner, whose father Eric Garner died in a police chokehold in 2014.