President Trump planned to spend the holidays in Mar-a-Lago before Fox News and two conservative talk show hosts gave him a tongue whipping for almost agreeing to sign a funding bill. The tongue-lashing force Trump to put on a show on national television that sent hundreds of thousands of government workers home without paychecks. After tweeting like a schoolboy who didn’t get his way on the playground, Trump decided to get out of town. Instead of going to Florida he went to Iraq.
Traveling to a war zone isn’t Trump’s style even though he says he’s a military man at heart. Past presidents made it a point to visit the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, so in order to show his base he appreciated the men and women in uniform, he and Melania went to Iraq Christmas night to spread a little Trumpism around.
Some Trump critics say Mr. Trump went to Iraq to campaign, and to show military leaders he’s the boss now that former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is home writing his memories. Trump stood in front of the troops, and he acted like the perpetual candidate he is. He told the troops how great he is, and how he gave them a pay raise even though that didn’t happen. He gave them his Make America Great Again speech while trying to act presidential. But that act needs a lot of work, according to the Washington Post.
Some news reports say Trump’s speech in Iraq broke military rules. American troops can’t get caught in the political trap Mr. Trump tried to set. According to the Pentagon, military personnel can’t show political favorites. Trump made it look like the military was his personal fan base, and that undermines the trust Americans have in the military, according to Trump critics.
Trump’s job in Iraq was to spread goodwill not to stage a political rally, according to former general counsel for the Air Force and Army, Charles Blanchard. American saw their military clapping when Trump threw out one of his distorted political messages. And they saw soldiers asking Trump to sign their red hats like true Trump voters.
Politicizing the troops by wearing a bomber jacket and spewing his version of the world according to Trump is another act from a president who does things his way. He didn’t meet with Iraqi officials, and that was a major blunder, according to his advisors. But Trump doesn’t care about blunders or Iraq. He cares about being reelected, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.