Trump makes first visit to USA troops in harm’s way

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet military personnel at the dining facility during an unannounced visit to Al Asad Air Base Iraq
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27 December, 2018

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that Trump's visit was made to thank troops for their service, success and sacrifice.

President Donald Trump used a lightning visit to Iraq - his first with U.S. troops in a conflict zone since being elected - to defend withdrawing from Syria and to declare an end to America's role as the global "policeman".

The drawdowns - and the abrupt way that they were announced - helped lead to the resignation of Trump's defense secretary, Jim Mattis, who has been one of the administration's key heavyweights.

During President Donald Trump's unannounced visit to troops in Iraq on Wednesday-his first trip to troops deployed to a combat zone since he was elected-he admitted he had been concerned about making the trip.

"We want peace and the best way to have peace is through strength", Trump told troops wearing camouflage fatigues in a hangar as he concluded his visit.

The Afghanistan withdrawal order came alongside Trump's abrupt announcement last week that he would pull all 2000 USA troops from Syria, a decision made against the counsel of his top advisers and without warning allies in the fight there against the Islamic State.

With U.S. service members fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan under his watch, Bush visited the wounded at Walter Reed every Christmas after 2003.

At the military base, Trump sought to defend his "America first" policy of pulling back from multinational alliances, including what to many Americans seem like the endless wars of the Middle East.

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The former " Suits " star could be seen placing a protective hand on Kate's back as the pair made their way inside the gates. Last year, she became the first non-married partner to be invited to Christmas lunch at Sandringham with the Queen.

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He noted that the GOP controls the House, Senate and the White House; Democrats will take power in the House in January. Constitution's emoluments clause, which bars presidents from receiving gifts of value from foreign governments.

During the presidential campaign, Trump blamed Democrat Hillary Clinton for the rise of IS, due to the withdrawal of USA troops from Iraq at the end of 2011 during her tenure as secretary of state.

During his remarks, the Commander-in-Chief encouraged USA service members to keep up the fight and vowed to continue the fight against ISIS from Iraq.

President Trump's trip comes just days after he announced a drawn down of all USA troops in Syria and the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis.

"We'll be watching ISIS very closely", said Trump, who was joined by first lady Melania Trump, but no members of his Cabinet or lawmakers.

Trump had planned to spend Christmas at his private club in Florida, but stayed behind in Washington due to the partial government shutdown. Many groups are, you know, we've never even been close to these numbers.

Pence met with Afghan leaders and visited with United States troops stationed in the country. He said some troops "can now return home to their families". The Pentagon is also said to be developing plans to withdraw up to half of the 14,000 American troops still serving in Afghanistan.

Both men also traveled multiple times to Afghanistan.


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