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President Trump makes surprise Christmas visit to troops in Iraq

President Trump makes surprise Christmas visit to troops in Iraq

Trump campaigned for office on a platform of ending US involvement in foreign trouble spots, such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. However, as IJR Red reported, Trump hadn't broken the tradition.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived to speak to United States military members at a hangar rally at the Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. Trump defended the decision while addressing troops Wednesday, saying that ISIS has been defeated in Syria.

"I had concerns about the institution of the presidency", Trump said.

Some of the troops even showed up prepared to meet Trump, as they brought their red "Make America Great Again" hats in hopes to have them signed by the president.

The air base where Trump spoke is about 155 miles (250 kilometers) from Hajin, a Syrian town near the Iraqi border where Kurdish fighters are still battling IS extremists.

During Thanksgiving weekend in 2003, President George W. Bush wanted to spend part of the holiday with active service members in Iraq. Trump, as commander in chief, has the authority to declassify the information, but typically the faces of individual special operations service members are blurred in official photos and videos to shield their identities.

Following Bush's first visit to Iraq, he would return to the country three more times. Many have also raised concerns that the US withdrawal will embolden the group.

It's the sixth time that a US president has visited Iraq. Instead, there may be plans to use Iraq as a military base to carry out operations on Syria and fight the Islamic State.




Two of Trump's recent predecessors visited Iraq early in their terms.

Trump's trip was shrouded in secrecy.

The video with the SEALs faces is available on Trump's Twitter, but Raw Story has chosen not to run it to protect their identities.

The president's decision to exit Syria stunned national security advisers and allies, including Iraq, and prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. "We've knocked them silly".

The decision blindsided Congress, terrified US allies on the ground, and led to the abrupt resignations of both Defense Secretary James Mattis and the top State Department official managing the fight against Islamic State, Brett McGurk. "We've knocked them silly".

Trump made the 11-hour flight on a darkened Air Force One with lights off and window shades drawn plus military jet escorts.

"I was fully prepared to turn this baby around and come home", he said. "So we're going to be having the best equipment ever known". He told The Associated Press in an interview in October that he "will do that at some point, but I don't think it's overly necessary". Sanders said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is meeting with Iraq's Prime Minister in Baghdad on January 11. The Pentagon is also said to be developing plans to withdraw up to half of the 14,000 American troops still serving in Afghanistan.

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