The President of the United States made a clandestine trip to Iraq in order to spend Christmas Day with troops on the ground.
White House officials confirmed that President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump traveled to Iraq under cover of darkness, spending time “in country” for more than two hours before his whereabouts were made public.
The Trumps made merry with military personnel at Al Asad Airbase, telling them that their presence in the country is vital and that Iraq will continue to be a country where the US will keep a certain number of forces.
“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,” Trump said. “We’ve knocked them silly.”
The trip marks the first combat zone visit for President Trump, who up until Christmas Day had yet to visit an active combat area during his tenure.
President Trump was previously scheduled to spend Christmas at Mar-a-Lago in South Florida, but had canceled his plans, creating speculation as to where he would be spending the holidays.
The trip follows President Trump’s recent announcement that he would be pulling US troops out of Syria.
In a statement posted to Twitter, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed the president’s surprise Christmas journey and shared several photographs.
“President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas,” she said.
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