When President Trump shared photos of himself and first lady Melania meeting with troops in Iraq on Christmas Day, he may have put troops in danger. That's according to some retired military officials, and parents of armed forces.
Retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Malcolm Nance and NBC News analyst said that the faces of SEAL Team 5 members should have been shielded and not blasted on social media.
"The fact is they are a special operations force in a combat zone with a combat role," Nance wrote in an email. "The reason their identities are protected is in case of capture."
Nance says he wished Trump would have followed the protocol of his predecessors.
"If protocols have been followed, by digitizing the faces of the individuals (as every other president has done) this would not be an issue," he said. "Now those sailors are a far higher risk while in Iraq just because they posed with Trump."
Another retired navy official, U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis, noted on MSNBC that SEALs are supposed to remain "in the shadows." He was "surprised" to see the officers in the photo.
Some parents were worried too.
While I can appreciate you finally visiting troops (my son serves in the United States Army), I find it unbelievable you would reveal the faces of US Navy Seals in your photo op video. Surely you must know that their identities must be held private for their and others security.— Lisa Roar Kennedy (@lmkenn3) December 27, 2018
Yet, Defense Department officials say the photos and videos were all within the lines of protocol.
"The special operators voluntarily participated in this open press event," the department said in a statement. "There was no security violation."
Still, the media had plenty of other things to focus on as they criticized Trump's visit with the troops. The president was criticized for signing "Make America Great Again" hats and signs some officers brought for him. Some outlets even cast blame our troops for that one, wondering if they had broken Pentagon protocol. Then we had media anchors like Don Lemon call the president the Grinch for politicizing his trip to Iraq, while celebrities like Alyssa Milano suggested Trump didn't even want to go on the trip and that he was "shamed" into it. As Melania spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham explained, the Trump had this trip planned out for weeks.
As Katie noted, he was hardly the first president to sign autographs for the troops. The only difference, some point out, is the party affiliation.