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Trump Visits US Troops in Iraq on Unannounced Trip

Trump Visits US Troops in Iraq on Unannounced Trip

US President Donald Trump made a surprise visit to Iraq today, his first trip to American troops deployed in a war zone since he was elected two years ago.

They travelled there unannounced "late on Christmas night" to thank troops for "their service, their success and their sacrifice", it said.

The president told reporters traveling with him that he wants to get USA soldiers home from Syria and that Iraq can still be used as a base to stage attacks on Islamic State militants if needed, according to the Associated Press. Trump's defense secretary resigned last week after the Syria troop decision, writing in a departure letter the President deserved a military chief more aligned with his worldview.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump landed at Al Asad Airbase in western Iraq at 7:16 p.m. local time.

"I want to come and pay my respects most importantly to the great soldiers, great troopers we have here", he said during his approximately three-hour visit, during which he also defended his decision to withdraw troops from Syria. "I have done more for the military than any president in many, many years".

While on his way to Iraq, someone spotted Trump's plane flying over the United Kingdom and posted on social media with a photo of the VC-25A aircraft. Since U.S. forces returned to Iraq in 2014, the base has played an important role in the fight against Islamic State because of its location.

"The United States can not continue to be the policeman of the world".

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"Trump sets new Christmas record: Finally makes first visit to combat troops", it reported, adding that "Trump's loyalty to his country has been called into question since the beginning of his presidency" because of allegations - still unfounded - of Russian Federation "collusion".

Trump said the USA mission in Syria was to strip the Islamic State (ISIS) of its military strongholds - not to be a nation builder. Many groups are, you know, we've never even been close to these numbers.

"It's time to get out young people out", Trump said.

Trump had planned to spend Christmas at his private club in Florida, but stayed behind in Washington due to the partial government shutdown. Iraq keeps reinforcements along its frontier to guard against infiltration by IS militants, who hold a pocket of territory along the Euphrates River.

If it aided troop morale, there was no harm in this gesture other than its cost and the continuation of a long tradition of political exploitation of the US military.

Trump campaigned for office on a platform of ending US involvement in foreign trouble spots, such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. He recently ordered a drawdown of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and a complete withdrawal of 2,000 troops from Syria.


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