WASHINGTON – President Trump visited US forces in Iraq on Wednesday, a surprise voyage and the first visit of troops stationed abroad in a combat area by a commander-in-chief who has made the withdrawal of the United States from abroad a state of emergency.
The secretive journey took place amidst the government's stagnation and less than a week after Mr. Trump disrupted US military status quo, and even angered some of his staunch political allies by making plans to withdraw troops from Syria reported about half of those stationed in Afghanistan. This decision on Syria, which was made on the objections of US military generals and civilian advisers, led to the resignation of Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense of Trump, and created tensions in the national security organization.
Trump, accompanied by his wife Melania Trump, was scheduled to make two stops on his post-Christmas journey to deliver a Christmas message to over 5,000 American troops stationed in the country.
"President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to thank our troops and military leaders for thanking them for their service, success and sacrifice, and wishing them a Merry Christmas." said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House spokeswoman a tweet.
Visiting troops abroad is a popular tradition for presidents. President George W. Bush served the Thanksgiving turkey to soldiers in Baghdad in 2003, in the early days of the Iraq war. Mr. Obama flew to Baghdad in April 2009, four months after his inauguration. He won the jubilation when he told the troops it was time for the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own land. During his tenure, he visited Afghanistan four times.
But almost two years after his presidency, Mr. Trump had not visited any troops abroad, he drew criticism from various corners. Www.mjfriendship.de/de/index.php?op…80&Itemid=58 Last month, when he was thinking of an American cemetery in front of a Paris battlefield, he said to Chris Wallace. Englisch: www.mjfriendship.de/en/index.php?op…ew&id=6 # 1991 Fox News anchor that he did not visit troops overseas because he had "an incredibly busy schedule."
Trump ran for the presidency on a platform to bring troops from Afghanistan and Syria home. This was part of a broader strategy to end nearly two decades of US military intervention – from Iraq and Libya to Syria and Afghanistan – which he criticized as costly, ineffective and criticized, contrary to his foreign policy "America First".
But the United States still has 14,000 troops in Afghanistan and about 2,000 in Syria. While the number of casualties in these conflicts is only a fraction of that of the previous two administrations, the fact that US troops are still down – in Afghanistan's case, 17 years after their first deployment – testifies to the country's difficulty To extract entanglements.
Mr. Trump's trip took place at a sensitive moment when the President's collision with Mr. Mattis over the withdrawal of troops opened a gap between the commander-in-chief and the military.
Over the weekend, Brett McGurk, the special envoy of the president, fought coalition struggles The Islamic State, accelerated his resignation and told his colleagues that he could not, with a clear conscience, reaffirm Trump's policy of withdrawing American troops from Syria. Mr McGurk, a seasoned diplomat who was a key player in the fight against the terrorist group, had originally planned to retire in February.
Trump's announcements on Syria and Afghanistan left a trail of confusion, and White House officials failed to explain either the timetable for the withdrawal or their strategy to prevent the return of radical extremism in both countries.
The feeling of insecurity is added Partial closure of the government, which did not affect the military in active service, but led Mr. Trump to cancel his vacation visit at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, and imprisoned in the White House to stay.
Mr. Trump and Melania Trump, the First Lady, called from the West Wing to troops stationed abroad, although he was criticized in the media for being the first president since 2002 to visit no troops or wounded warriors on public holidays.
Mr. Trump says he "did more for the military" than many of his youngest predecessors, but had not made visiting active members of the military a priority.
"I'll do that someday, but I do not think that's excessively necessary," Trump said in an interview with The Associated Press in October when he was asked if troops stationed overseas should be visited. "I was very busy with everything that happens here."
"I do many things," he added. "But it's something I'd like to do."
The trip on Wednesday also brought Mr. Trump from the White House, where he had been complaining about the government's partial closure due to the stalemate due to its funding needs to build a wall along the southern border.
Mr. Trump, who had left for a 16-day vacation in Palm Beach last Friday, has complained instead on Twitter in recent days that he is "all alone (poor me) waiting in the White House the Democrats are coming back and make a deal about much needed border security. "