White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced on Twitter Wednesday that President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had made a late night Christmas visit to the troops serving in Iraq.
Sanders wrote that the Trumps visited with the troops to thank them for their service and wish them a Merry Christmas.
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. pic.twitter.com/s2hntnRwpw— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) December 26, 2018
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet military personnel at the dining facility during an unannounced visit to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Dec. 26, 2018. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst) pic.twitter.com/OhRz4fFBqo— Dylan Stableford (@stableford) December 26, 2018
The visit is Trump's first to troops in a combat zone as president. He faced intense media scrutiny over not visiting the troops overseas earlier this year and even on Wednesday prior to the announcement from Sanders. He told reporters in November that he was planning a visit to a war zone but had been dealing with an "unbelievably busy schedule."
In a speech during the visit, President Trump reportedly said that there are no plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. He also defended the decision to withdraw troops from Syria.
BREAKING: Trump, during surprise visit to Iraq, says he has 'no plans at all' to withdraw U.S. troops from that country.— Jill Colvin (@colvinj) December 26, 2018
Trump used his visit to Iraq to defend pulling U.S. forces from Syria. “It’s time for us to start using our head. We don’t want to be taken advantage of anymore.” pic.twitter.com/YCYqicOv3s— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) December 26, 2018