President Trump Visits US Troops in Iraq

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President Trump Visits US Troops in Iraq
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President Trump Visits US Troops in Iraq
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President Donald Trump delivered a surprise speech to US military personnel in Iraq on Wednesday. The president and the first lady departed the White House late Christmas night for the trip. They landed in Al Asad Air Base after the eleven-hour flight, where the president delivered a speech to the soldiers in attendance. National Security Adviser John Bolton was the only top official to join the couple on their trip.

During the speech, the president spoke of his decision to withdraw troops from Syria. There are currently about 2,00 US military personnel in Syria, and they are expected to be fully withdrawn over the next few months. The president went on to tell troops that the US should not be rebuilding nations, as that burden should be on neighboring countries in the region.

Over 5,000 US military personnel remain in Iraq, and the president recently said he has no immediate plans to withdraw them. President Trump has expressed his willingness to use military bases in Iraq to launch future attacks in Syria if necessary. However, elsewhere in the Middle East, the US is expected to bring home half of its 14,000 troops from Afghanistan in the coming months.

The president’s recent foreign policy moves appear quite aligned with his past statements during the 2016 campaign. Trump attacked Rubio and Bush for advocating the toppling of Assad in Syria, and criticized their past support for the Iraq War. He was also highly critical of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, and the foreign policy decisions of the Obama administration.

After visiting with the troops for about three hours in Iraq, the president and first lady flew to Germany. They were greeted on arrival by US service members at Ramstein Air Base Thursday morning. By Thursday evening, the president and first lady were back at the White House. President Trump will likely spend the rest of 2018 further implementing his recent staff changes, having replaced Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

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