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President Trump and First lady Melania make surprise visit to see American troops in Iraq

Manuela Cardiga
Dec 26, 2018
06:18 P.M.
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The President of the United States' first visit to a combat zone surprises the press.

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U.S. military personnel stationed at Al Asad Air Base, in Iraq, had an unexpected visitor. No, it wasn't Santa, and he flew in on Airforce One instead of a sled.

White House Press Secretary Sahra Sanders revealed on Twitter that President Donald Trump and the First Lady arrived for a surprise visit to the combat zone on December 26, 2018.

This marks the President's first visit to U.S. troops in a "hot spot" since he first moved into the White House in January 2017.

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"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."

Sarah Sanders, White House Press Secretary.

MEETING AND GREETING THE TROOPS IN IRAQ

The President and Melania Trump met the men and women stationed at Al Asad Air Base and extended their Season's Greetings and their thanks for their sacrifice.

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The Presidential couple left the United States late on the evening of Christmas day and spent approximately three hours with the troops deployed in Iraq.

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His declaration follows on the heels of outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' orders on December 23 to withdraw all American troops from Syria.

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TRUMP WILL NOT REMOVE US TROOPS FROM IRAQ

President Trump assured the military personnel that he would not be pulling out the approximately 5,000 U.S. troops stationed in the country. He added that Iraq will be used as a base to stage attacks on Islamic State militants in the Middle East.

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U.S. MILITARY TO WITHDRAW FROM SYRIA

His declaration follows on the heels of outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' orders on December 23 to withdraw all American troops from Syria. It is speculated that a withdrawal Afghanistan will soon follow.

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President Trump declared that the war on ISIS is "won," and that the military contingent in Iraq is sufficient to deal with the terrorist organization, and curb its activities in the Middle East.

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FIRST LADY VISITED U.S. TROOPS WITH XMAS GREETINGS

On December 12, 2018, First Lady Melania Trump visited the troops on two military bases and on board a Nimitz-class supercarrier and delivered her husband's Christmas greetings.

The First Lady's whirlwind visit was marked by a powerful speech in which she expressed her husband's gratitude and his avowed support for the armed forces:

"I want you all to know the president and I are so grateful and have unconditional appreciation for all that you do. This administration will always stand with the men and women of the United States armed forces."

As elegant as ever, the first lady wore a dashing military-style jacket with a double row of buttons, black jeans and black military-style boots.

Melania was received warmly by the service and women and their families and ended the visit on the USS George H.W. Bush, where she spoke emotionally about the carrier's namesake and his recent passing.

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