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UPDATE: Trump Makes Unannounced Trip to Iraq Amid Criticism for Not Visiting Troops at Christmastime

The Trumps arrived in Iraq on Wednesday, following a "secret overnight flight."

REUTERS

UPDATE: Dec. 26, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.

In a visit that came hours after NBC News reported that President Trump was the first president since 2002 that did not visit wounded warriors or troops during Christmastime, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump met with troops stationed in Iraq, traveling there "late Christmas night," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

The Trumps arrived in Iraq on Wednesday, following a "secret overnight flight."

"Trump left behind a slate of troubles in Washington, including a partial government shutdown and an unsteady economy," according to CNN. "He's also faced criticism for a series of foreign policy decisions that have left his national security team at odds."

This makes Trump's first trip to visit U.S. troops in a combat zone, after much criticism.

According to The Washington Post, the head of one of two main blocs in Iraq's Parliament, Sabah al-Saidi, "is denouncing Trump's unannounced visit, calling it a 'blatant violation of Iraq's sovereignty'." Al-Saidi is calling for an emergency session of Parliament to discuss his visit.

He said Trump should not be allowed to arrive "as if Iraq is a state of the United States" as "the American occupation of Iraq is over."

White House press secretary Sanders said Trump couldn't meet with the Iraqi prime minister because of the short notice of the president's trip and security concerns.

ORIGINAL STORY: Trump Skips Traditional Visit With Troops at Christmastime

President Donald Trump, who made history as the first reality TV president and the first president to use Twitter to fire and hire White House staff, has now become the first president since 2002 that did not visit military personnel around Christmastime.


NBC News reported on Tuesday that, according to the network's logs and news releases, President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush had participated in the tradition during their tenures.

Every Christmas Obama was in office, from 2009 to 2016, he visited troops at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in Kaneohe Bay. Preceding that, Bush made visits to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center from 2003 to 2008.

In 2017, Trump did visit wounded troops on Dec. 21 at Walter Reed. But, this year, after postponing his end-of-the-year vacation in Florida because of the partial federal government shutdown over his desired border wall, Trump spent Christmas in the White House.

As many presidents have done, he placed calls to service members. He also spoke by videoconference "with service members stationed at remote sites worldwide to thank them for their service to our Nation," said a White House statement.

Trump has consistently claimed he has accomplished more for the military and veterans than any other president in recent memory. He specifically mentions Obama.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama says in her memoir that she would "never forgive" Trump for putting her "family's safety at risk with his vehement promotion of the false birther conspiracy theory."

Trump's response: "I'll never forgive [President Barack Obama] for what he did to our U.S. military. It was depleted, and I had to fix it."

But he faces criticism as in almost two years in office, Trump has yet to visit U.S. troops in a combat zone. And in November, because of rain, he cancelled plans to attend a commemoration in France to honor U.S. soldiers killed during World War I.

VoteVets, a veterans lobby group, tweeted on Nov. 10:

"Donald Trump complained about having to stand in the rain, to speak about the massacre in Pittsburgh, because it messed his hair up (more). Today, he will skip honoring fallen American heroes of WWI, and stay in his hotel room, because of some rain."

Also in November, Trump skipped the traditional Veterans Day visit to Arlington National Cemetery for the solemn wreath-laying ceremony.

The Conversation (2)
votetocorrect26 Dec, 2018
TRUMP SAID HE IS PROUD TO OWN THIS SHUTDOWN AND THE BLAME WON'T SHIFT TO THE DEMS! LIKE LBJ SAID: YOU (TRUMP) JUST HAVE TO HUNKER DOWN LIKE A JACKASS IN A HAIL STORM AND TAKE IT!
Alpha Whitaker26 Dec, 2018

Captain Bone Spurs might not be getting the welcome his ego prefers!?!? Shut down and all! BUT, he's getting to charge us for another beautiful long stay playing golf in Mar-Go-Government I am payers 💰! I wish them Felis Navidad! Lol!

Black Student in Kansas Sues School District for Racial Discrimination

The dance team's choreographer told Camille Sturdivant that her skin was "too dark" to perform because she "clashed" with uniforms.

Camille Sturdivant and coaches Kevin Murakami and Carley Fine

Camille Sturdivant has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Blue Valley School District for the abuse she was subjected to as a member of the high school dance team.

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Cardi B. Delivers a More Effective Speech About Trump's Shutdown on Instagram Than Politicians

"Our country is in a hellhole right now," she said. "All for a f‐‐‐ing wall."

Rapper Cardi B. told her 39 million Instagram followers on Wednesday night what she really thought about President Trump's partial government shutdown, his wall and about his absurd request to force people who aren't getting paid to go back to work.

She didn't mince words (she uses explicit language in the video).

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Five Cops Fired, Two Suspended After Man in Custody Died

"I can't breathe," Christopher Lowe said before he died. But officers still failed to call for help.

The Fort Worth Police Department has terminated five officers and suspended two for their involvement in the death of Christopher Lowe, 55, while he was in police custody last July.

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Vermont Continues to Fail Black Legislator Racially Harassed By White Nationalist

Kiah Morris resigned from her position because of the harassment, but Vermont's attorney general said he will not file charges against the perpetrators, including Max Misch.

Kiah Morris was the only Black woman in the Vermont House of Representatives, until she resigned from her position in September, after enduring years of racially motivated harassment.

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Trump's Government Shutdown Closes MLK Historic Sites

Ebenezer Baptist Church and most of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta are closed. "I feel a bit of sadness...I didn't expect to cry over this," said Bernice King.

Tuesday was Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and next Monday is our national celebration of the civil rights icon.

But school field trips, celebrations, families' visits to teach children about civil rights and the values of all people being created equally are being canceled due to President Trump's government shutdown.

Thousands of people who flock to Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor, and to his home, as well as the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C., will be disappointed. They are all closed.

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Roku Pulls Racist 'Infowars' After Social Media Backlash

Alex Jones, founder of Infowars, has also been accused of sexual harassment. He allegedly grabbed a Black employee's backside saying: "Who wouldn't want a Black wife?"

Reuters

Six months after major social media channels such as YouTube and Twitter banned Alex Jones' Infowars, Roku, a streaming service, added a channel for the show's 24 million users. Apparently, there has been a channel for the show on Roku for years, according to Roku spokesman Eric Savitz.

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