Donald and Melania Trump visit United States troops in Iraq

26 Décembre, 2018, 22:11 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • President Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet members of the military at a hanger rally at Al Asad Air Base Iraq Wednesday Dec. 26 2018

The visit, which was not announced in advance, came against the backdrop of mounting controversies over Trump's plans to withdraw forces from the Middle East, the ongoing government shutdown, and an apparently coincidental New York Times article that explored the president's past avoidance of military service.

More than 5,000 American troops are deployed in Iraq - the lowest number since a US -led coalition invaded the Middle Eastern country in 2003.

It comes a week Trump announced a withdrawal of US troops from Syria, as well as the subsequent resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Trump has also wanted to end protracted USA involvement in overseas conflicts, and to force allies to pay more for the costs that he says fall disproportionately on American taxpayers.

President Trump says he has "no plans at all" to remove USA troops from the country; Lucas Tomlinson reports from the Pentagon.

Trump has also faced negative headlines for wanting to pull troops from Afghanistan, where they have been since 2001.

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President Donald Trump visits with members of the military at a dining hall at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018.

Mr Trump said the USA could use Iraq as a forward base if "we wanted to do something in Syria", Reuters news agency reports.

As of right now, the White House has not made any official announcements, but various journalists and others on social media have put forth several different theories.

The surprise Iraq trip is Trump's first visit to a combat zone.

Trump had never traveled to Iraq or Afghanistan but Air Force One was spotted by WikiLeaks flying in the direction earlier in the day.

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