President Trump undoubtedly made the Christmas season for a number of military service members when he flew from Washington D.C., where he remained in the days leading up to Christmas, into Iraq for a visit.
The trip, while surely cheerful and uplifting to the soldiers was not without some concern from the president, he admitted to a group of reporters and military servicemembers on Wednesday.
When asked if he had any concerns about the trip into the active war zone of Iraq, Trump said he did indeed have a major concern.
“Did you have any concerns about coming here today?” the reporter asked.
“Absolutely,” Trump quickly responded. “When I heard what you had to go through. I mean look. I had concerns about the institution of the presidency — not for myself personally. I had concerns for the first lady.”
“I will tell you, but if you would have seen what we had to go through with the darkened plane, with all windows closed, with no lights on whatsoever anywhere—pitch black,” the president continued.
“I’ve never seen that. I’ve been in many airplanes, all types and shapes and sizes, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Trump added. “We’re coming in and I know all of the things that were surrounding us for safety.”
And, “So did I have a concern? Yeah, I had a concern. But my bigger concern was maybe the people that were with me. Certainly all of them.”
President Trump visited the troops at Christmas time, despite some mainstream media reporting to the contrary.
As the Daily Caller reports, the surprise trip was Trump’s first into a war zone since becoming the commander in chief.
“The president and first lady spent hours after touching down greeting servicemen and taking photographs,” the Daily Caller added.
Associated Press reports the flight was just under 30 hours for the president, the first lady, and the administration officials to travel from Washington D.C. to Iraq, into Germany, and back home.
Trump arrived back in Washington in the pre-dawn hours Thursday, capping a 29-hour and six minute trip to the conflict region conducted under the cover of night. Addressing troops at an air base in western Iraq Wednesday, Trump defended his decision to pull forces from neighboring Syria, declaring of Islamic State militants: “We’ve knocked them out. We’ve knocked them silly.”
Such trips are typically unannounced and the subject of extreme security. Trump’s was no exception as he flew overnight from Washington, spent three-plus hours on the ground and stopped at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany for refueling and to greet service members in a hangar there before leaving.
Trump told his audience in Iraq that the decision to withdraw the roughly 2,000 troops from Syria illustrated his quest to put “America first.”
“We’re no longer the suckers, folks,” Trump said at al-Asad Air Base, about 100 miles or 60 kilometers west of Baghdad. “We’re respected again as a nation.”