Trump Put U.S. Troops in ‘Very Bad Position’

Geraldine Edwards
December 28, 2018

Shortly after his first visit to United States troops stationed in a war zone, President Trump posted a video on Twitter that showed him posing for pictures with service members who appear to be from SEAL Team Five in Iraq - without shielding their face, a report said.

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Maryland President Donald Trump once opined that it wasn't "overly necessary" for him to visit troops in danger zones overseas.

Trump landed at an airbase west of Baghdad after dark Wednesday, leaving behind a government shutdown and other upheaval at home.

President Barack Obama visited Iraq in April 2009, the first year of his eight years in office.

Trump made the surprise visit to Iraq one day after Christmas along with First Lady Melania Trump.

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For the visit, which was unscheduled, Melania broke first lady precedent by travelling to an active combat zone.

Trump's visit comes at a fraught moment for the President and the military.

In fact, military members have seen a pay raise in each of the last 10 years, ranging from 1 percent to 3.9 percent, according to the Defense Department.

After the brief visit, when Air Force One had left Iraqi airspace, Trump posted a video on his Twitter feed. "Man if I was deployed, I would probably have a MAGA hat and if the president showed up, he better sign it".

Iraqi lawmakers also took aim at Trump's visit, arguing it was a violation of their country's sovereignty.

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They're even wearing kneepads, so you could say things are getting pretty serious.

A longer-term presence in Iraq provides Trump with a hedge against his withdrawal from Syria, a decision that was widely opposed by his advisers and which led to the resignation of his defense secretary, retired Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was supposed to continue leading the Pentagon until late February, but Trump moved up his exit and announced that Patrick Shanahan, deputy defense secretary, would take the job on January 1.

The decision blindsided Congress, terrified USA 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. He told The Associated Press in October that he didn't think such a visit was "overly necessary". Instead, there may be plans to use Iraq as a military base to carry out operations on Syria and fight the Islamic State. "The U.S. occupation of Iraq is over".

Politico, which reported White House claims that the trip had been planned for six weeks, stated that President Trump "can't seem to keep a secret" - though it added: "Despite all the rumors, the specifics of Trump's trip were closely held". He also visited Afghanistan once.

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