Trump, Visiting Troops in Iraq, Makes False Claims About Raising Military Pay

Alyssa Milano attends the UNICEF USA's 14th Annual Snowflake Ball at Cipriani Wall Street

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

Trump, who had faced criticism for not visiting United States forces in hot zones, traveled with the first lady to the al-Asad Airbase near Baghdad, where he mingled with troops, signed MAGA hats and defended his decision to pull out of Syria.

Trump stopped in Germany on his way back to greet troops at a US air base. He said last week that US troops would be coming out of Syria because victory had been achieved over the Islamic State.

The president told service members at al-Asad air base in Iraq that he was proud to secure them a much-needed pay bump of "more than 10 percent" after years of stagnant wages.

Some of the troops even showed up prepared to meet Trump, as they brought their red "Make America Great Again" hats in hopes to have them signed by the president. George W. Bush made four trips to Iraq and two to Afghanistan as president; President Barack Obama made four to Afghanistan and one to Iraq. To take selfies with soldiers and speak military members, FLOTUS wore a suede mustard belted blouse with dark green pants.

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 USA allies.

This was the first time Trump has visited troops in an overseas war zone during his presidency.

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Iraqi officials said a planned meeting on Wednesday between Trump and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was cancelled due to a disagreement over where it should take place.

Sabah al-Saadi, the leader of the Islah parliamentary bloc, called for an emergency session of parliament "to discuss this blatant violation of Iraq's sovereignty and to stop these aggressive actions by Trump who should know his limits: The US occupation of Iraq is over". But the circumstances do highlight the difficulty facing Trump as a president who wants virtually unlimited defense spending harnessed to a belligerent nationalism - but doesn't much care for deploying US military power unless it can kill everything in sight.

"It's time to get our young people out", Trump said.

"Sometimes, they put themselves in harm's way for incursions and wars that don't that don't make sense", she said. "We'll be watching them very, very closely, the remnants of ISIS".

After the brief visit, when Air Force One had left Iraqi airspace, Trump posted a video on his Twitter feed.

"I was fully prepared to turn this baby around and come home", he said. He told The Associated Press in an interview in October that he "will do that at some point, but I don't think it's overly necessary".

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