President Donald Trump paid an unannounced visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving, receiving a warm welcome from the service members.
In Mar-a-Lago since Tuesday with first lady Melania Trump and son Barron, Trump secretly flew from an undisclosed airport early Wednesday night to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, and from there to Bagram Air Field, the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan, according to reports. The trip was his first visit to that country.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! pic.twitter.com/7SGZnHindW
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2019
“There is nowhere that I’d rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here with the toughest, strongest best and bravest warriors on the face of the Earth,” President Trump told the troops.
The rousing welcome the president received is seen in the video below, shared online by White House social media director Dan Scavino.
— Dan Scavino Jr.?? (@Scavino45) November 28, 2019
The first lady did not accompany the president on the stealth trip, though she did go with her husband when he made a surprise visit to Iraq last Christmas.
Joining Trump was Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Dan Walsh, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere and Scavino, the Daily Mail reported.
Trump posed with soldiers, helped distribute plates and served turkey to the troops in a cafeteria.
Hands down. The Best President Ever! @realDonaldTrump
Serving our wonderful Military Thanksgiving dinner.
Respect is given to those who deserve it. This President has all of my respect! God Bless him!???
— ★ᴍɪᴄʜᴀᴇʟ★??? (@MichaelT_45) November 29, 2019
He also delivered brief remarks during the visit.
“We flew 8331 miles to be here tonight for one simple reason, to tell you in person that this Thanksgiving is a special Thanksgiving,” the president said. “We’re doing so well. Our country is the strongest economically it has ever been.”
To watch the troops react to Trump, it’s as if there are two Americas. One driven by the Democratic Party and their media allies, where the president is hated and can do nothing right, and another where the folks widely appreciate his hard work to make America great again.
United States Army General and the 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley introduces the 45th President of the United States @realDonaldTrump at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!???? pic.twitter.com/uMRA5t5yyk
— Dan Scavino Jr.?? (@Scavino45) November 28, 2019
Trump sat down at a table with a plate of turkey, mashed potatoes and cornbread, and planned to eat with a group of soldiers, but later said in his remarks it wasn’t to be.
“I sat down, had a gorgeous piece of turkey,” he explained. “And I was all set to go and I had some of the mashed potatoes. I had a bite of mash potatoes and never got to the turkey because the general said come on over and let’s take some pictures.”
“First time I’ve never had any turkey at Thanksgiving. But that is okay. But it looked about good. I should have started with that instead of the mashed potatoes. I made a mistake,” he added.
Staying true to his vision of looking to get the US out of endless wars in the Middle East — we have been in Afghanistan for 18 years — the commander in chief vowed to bring the troops home.
“We will continue to work tirelessly until the day when we can bring each and every one of you home and safe to your family – and that day is coming,” Trump said.
The visit to Afghanistan included a bilateral meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, with Trump announcing he has restarted peace negotiations with the Taliban and that he’d like to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to 8,600.
“The Taliban wants to make a deal — we’ll see if they make a deal. If they do they do, and if they don’t they don’t. That’s fine,’ he said, according to the Daily Mail.
“The Taliban wants to make a deal and we’re meeting with them and we’re saying it has to be a cease fire and they didn’t want to do a cease fire and now they do want to do a cease fire. I believe it’ll probably work out that way,” the president added.
“As President, I truly have no higher honor than to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Military—the greatest force for peace and justice in the history of the world!”@POTUS @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/KPw7aSok7z
— Dan Scavino Jr.?? (@Scavino45) November 29, 2019
The US was previously engaged in peace talks with the Taliban, but Trump abruptly broke off negotiations back in September after a bombing in Kabul killed 12 people, including an American soldier.
“The Taliban knows they made a big mistake, and they have no idea how to recover!” Trump tweeted at the time.
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