President Donald Trump and his wife Melania made a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq, his first trip to the war zone since being elected two years ago.
Trump landed at 7:16 pm local time at Al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq on Wednesday, an AFP correspondent said.
It was gathered that the President spoke to troops and met with military leaders.
“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,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders tweeted.
Melania Trump’s spokeswoman called it “a surprise visit to our brave U.S. service members currently deployed in Iraq.”
Presidential trips to boost troop morale have been a longstanding tradition in the years of war following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and Trump has taken considerable criticism for declining until now to experience a war zone.
But apart from the photo ops alongside uniformed military members, Trump is expected to use the Iraq trip to further explain his decision to end the Syria deployment and cut troops in Afghanistan.