President Trump and the First Lady surprised American troops stationed in Iraq when he dropped by to wish them Merry Christmas.
From White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders:
President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas. pic.twitter.com/s2hntnRwpw
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) December 26, 2018
More from the NYT:
The place Mr. Trump chose to visit is the one theater of war where he has not promised a rapid drawdown of forces — and it is where he claims his greatest military victory, the defeat of the Islamic State in Mosul, the Iraqi city where the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the beginning of its self-proclaimed caliphate. The assault on Mosul by Iraqi forces, backed by Americans, began under President Barack Obama but culminated in the summer of 2017 under Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump, who was accompanied by his wife, Melania Trump, was expected to make two stops on his post-Christmas trip, delivering a holiday message to the more than 5,000 American forces stationed in the country.
In articles published Tuesday, news outlets criticized Trump for choosing not to drop in and visit troops on Christmas. Like this one from NBC:
On Christmas Day, President Donald Trump took part in a long-running practice of presidents who called troops stationed around the country and the world.
But he broke from a recent tradition of actually visiting troops and wounded warriors. He did so in 2017, when he visited wounded troops at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Dec. 21 (and invited Coast Guard service members to play golf at his course in West Palm Beach, Florida).
By staying home on Tuesday, Trump became the first president since 2002 who didn’t visit military personnel around Christmastime.
Based on a check of NBC logs, President Barack Obama visited troops at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in Kaneohe Bay, every Christmas he was in office, from 2009 to 2016.
Before him, according to a check of news releases, President George W. Bush visited wounded warriors at Walter Reed from 2003 to 2008. He did not visit troops at Christmas in 2002, in the run-up to the Iraq War, or in 2001.
Media reaction is pretty well summed up in this tweet:
Trump is terrible because he hasn’t been to Iraq. And now he’s terrible because he has. https://t.co/dDCz5q1yiG
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) December 26, 2018
And this one, too:
“Why are you so critical of the media?!” pic.twitter.com/hUVJt7zuEW
— Jose Galvan (@Jose_Galvan) December 26, 2018
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