Pres. Trump, First Lady Make Surprise Visit to Troops in Iraq

President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump has made his first visit to soldiers station in a trouble region, flying in to Iraq on Boxing Day in an unannounced trip.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that Trump's visit was made to thank troops for their service, success and sacrifice.

Morale boosting presidential visits to U.S. troops in war zones have been a longstanding tradition in the years following the Sep 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and Trump has taken considerable criticism for declining to visit in the first two years of his presidency.

For Iraq, however, the president said he had no such plans for the 5,000 or so American troops in Iraq, who have been redployed to the country since 2014 to aide a US-led campaign against Daesh.

Although Trump has previously addressed USA troops stationed overseas, including in Italy, Japan and South Korea, he has drawn criticism for not yet visiting those deployed to combat zones.

The base, in Anbar province, became one of the most important bases for U.S. Marines after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Mr Trump indicated he would not rush to nominate a new secretary to replace Mattis, the first defence chief in decades to resign over policy differences with the president. The paper reported that the daughters of a podiatrist in NY who is now dead said their father had given Trump a bone-spur diagnosis as a favor to Fred Trump, who owned the building where the doctor had his office.

No wonder some Twitter users suspected that "doing the right thing for the troops" was far down on Trump's list of reasons to make the trip to Iraq.

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The visit followed the decision of the American leader to slash troop levels in Afghanistan and pull out entirely from Syria.

The US president stayed at the air base west of Baghdad for more than three hours.

"It's not fair when the burden is all on us", he said. Trump was joined by national security adviser John Bolton.

Trump had previously faced criticism for not visiting troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Trump's visit comes at a fraught moment for the President and the military. But in bringing troops home and declaring a formal end to the Iraq War, Obama fulfilled a pledge to voters to end a war that began under Bush.

The article did not address the false reports in several other media organizations that Trump had no visit planned. The trip was not announced by the White House, which has not responded to multiple questions from Yahoo News about the visit.

One of those critics was Mattis, who said in a candid resignation letter last week that his views did not align with the president's, particularly in regard to the treatment of us allies.

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