Trump draws fire for getting political on visit to US troops in Iraq
The president had signed the distinctive red campaign hats that the slogan emblazoned across — “Make America Great Again” (in capital letters) — and a Trump 2020 patch. He had also criticized Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi over border wall funding.Updated: Dec 28, 2018 22:49 IST
Hindustan Times, Washington
President Donald Trump has come under fire from critics for signing campaign memorabilia during a visit to meet US troops stationed in Iraq and attacking his political rivals in an address that have raised concerns he is politicizing US military, crossing a line that has been respected by his predecessors.
The president had signed the distinctive red campaign hats that the slogan emblazoned across — “Make America Great Again” (in capital letters) — and a Trump 2020 patch. He had also criticized Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi over border wall funding, an issue he had sought to litigate with soldiers.
“He has to understand that there exist some audiences that should not be addressed as part of his base, because they are not,” Mark Hertling said to The New York Times. “It’s a violation of protocol by the president.”
The president pushed back in a tweet Thursday. “CNN & others within the Fake News Universe were going wild about my signing MAGA hats for our military in Iraq and Germany. If these brave young people ask me to sign their hat, I will sign. Can you imagine my saying NO? We brought or gave NO hats as the Fake News first reported!”
The president was also seen to have criticized the chain command of the military when he said he had given the generals plenty of time to end the deployment in Syria and that they failed to deliver, because of which he overruled them and ordered the withdrawal of the 2,000 troops stationed there.
Trump has also come under fire for misleading — some have accused him of lying — the troops when he claimed in an address he gave them a raise for the first time in 10 years, when experts have insisted the military has been given a raise every year in recent memory.
“It’s great. You know what? Nobody deserves it more. You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years -- more than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one.”
The president visit, his first to meet troops in a combat zone, has been under fire for other reasons as well. A video posted on his Twitter feed of the visit may have revealed the deployment of US navy SEALs in the region and for revealing their identify as he posed with them for pictures.
First Published: Dec 28, 2018 22:21 IST