President Trump and Melania made their second unannounced visit to US troops abroad around 8pm ET as they visited troops on the German base of Ramstein.
The First Couple were on their way back from meeting troops in Iraq when Air Force One stopped to refuel and meet service members carrying MAGA hats who had waited up until around 4am local time.
The Daily Mail Reports:
Trump and Melania landed safely back in the US in the early hours of Thursday morning as they waved to the crowds following their visit.
Upon his return, the President tweeted: ‘Just returned from visiting our troops in Iraq and Germany. One thing is certain, we have incredible people representing our Country – people that know how to win!’
It came hours after President Trump’s first visit to a war zone with his three-hour trip to the Al Asad airbase, west of Baghdad.
The president delivered a speech to the rank and file, took selfies with the troops and met with military leaders in Iraq. He did not meet with the country’s Prime Minister but spoke to him over the phone.
Abdul-Mahdi’s office said in a statement that ‘differences in points of view over the arrangements’ prevented the two from meeting face-to-face, but they discussed security issues and Trump’s order to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
The White House said security concerns and the short notice of the trip prevented them from meeting.
Iraqi lawmakers told Reuters that the pair had disagreed over where their planned meeting should take place: Trump had asked to meet at the Ain al-Asad military base, an offer which Abdul-Mahdi declined.
The President offered the Iraqi leader to meet in D.C. at a later date.
‘I want to come and pay my respects most importantly to the great soldiers,’ Trump said on the visit. ‘Great troopers we have here.’
Trump announced last week that he’s pulling American troops out of neighboring Syria, because the U.S. had ‘defeated ISIS’ in the nation that’s also mired in a civil war.
‘We’ve knocked them out. We’ve knocked them silly,’ he said of the U.S. assault on ISIS in Syria on Wednesday.
He claimed that in Iraq that the terror group had been ‘very nearly defeated’ altogether and Turkey and other regional powers will finish the job.
‘We’re no longer the suckers, folks,’ the president said of the decision to start packing up. ‘We’re respected again as a nation.’
President Trump said he does not plan to withdraw troops from Iraq, however, and could use the site as the home base for future operations in the region, according to Bloomberg News.
‘If we see something happening with ISIS that we don’t like, we can hit them so fast and so hard they really won’t know what the hell happened,’ he proclaimed.
Al Asad is roughly 185 kilometers outside of Syria, where the president last week initiated a withdrawal of 2,000 U.S. troops. It is west of Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, which is approximately 220 kilometers to the base’s east.
Trump never served in the military, having received a medical diagnosis that he had bone spurs. It helped him receive an exemption from mandatory service during the Vietnam War.
The daughters of the doctor who provided the medical excuse came forward before the president was known to be in Iraq on Wednesday to claim that their father offered the diagnosis as a favor to the Trumps.
Never before had President Trump been to a war zone before his secret trip at Christmas that followed announcements that his secretary of defense and ISIS point man were leaving the administration.
Both General James Mattis and Brett McGurk tendered their resignations after Trump’s realignment of the United States’ military posture in the country that’s closely aligned with Iran and Russia.
Trump said Wednesday that his ‘generals’ had received multiple six-month ‘extensions’ to get out of Syria.
‘They said again, recently, can we have more time? I said, “Nope. You can’t have any more time. You’ve had enough time. We’ve knocked them out. We’ve knocked them silly,” ‘ he said of ISIS’ operations in Syria. ‘I will tell you that I’ve had some very good talks with President Erdogan who wants to knock them out also and he’ll do it. And others will do it to. Because we are in their region. They should be sharing the burden of costs and they’re not.’
Senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller, social media director Dan Scavino, spokeswoman Lindsay Walters and Melania Trump’s chief of staff Lindsay Reynolds and spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham were also aboard Air Force One.
Outgoing White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired marine general whose final day working for Trump is next week, did not join his boss on the unannounced trip abroad. Incoming chief Mick Mulvaney, who wears two hats now as Office of Management and Budget head and head of the West Wing, did not make the trip, either.
Mulvaey’s office oversees the shutdown that affects a quarter of the federal government.
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