President Trump Makes Surprise Visit To Troops In Afghanistan On Thanksgiving

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President Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to visit the troops there for Thanksgiving. These are troops stationed at Bagram Air Field. Trump’s team kept the trip a secret for security reasons. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) traveled with the president on a 13-hour overnight trip on Air Force One from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to Afghanistan on Wednesday for turkey day. Trump invited Barrasso, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who regularly travels to Afghanistan, on the trip when the two saw each other recently in New York.

The president arrived in Afghanistan just in time to serve troops Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone was all smiles. “Alright, who wants some photos?” said one of the officers accompanying Trump, drawing cheers and applause from the troops. Standing alongside Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Trump dished out turkey to roughly two dozen troops at a dining facility decorated with red, orange and yellow Thanksgiving banners and tablecloths. Mulvaney, Barrasso, and O’Brien were also behind the counter.

Trump also sat down at a table of soldiers, taking a plate of turkey, mashed potatoes and cornbread. Unfortunately, he didn’t have time to eat.

“I sat down, had a gorgeous piece of turkey. And I was all set to go and I had some of the mashed potatoes. I had a bite of mash potatoes and I never got to the turkey because the general said come on over and let’s take some pictures,” Trump told the troops in his remarks. “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.

From Fox News:

“There’s nowhere I’d rather spend Thanksgiving than with the toughest, fiercest warriors,” Trump said. “I’m here to say Happy Thanksgiving and thank you very much. As President of the United States, I have no higher honor than serving as commander-in-chief.”

“He added: “We will continue to work tirelessly for the day when all of you can go home to your families, and that day is coming very soon.”

“The president was originally slated to spend Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. Details of how he was able to sneak out of the resort property are still unclear. He did, though, fly out of an undisclosed airport on Wednesday evening.

“Fox News has learned that security precautions for the trip were taken to the extreme, with the cellular devices, including those of senior White House officials on the flight, taken before boarding the plane.

“The president greeted the crew and even stayed in the cockpit for takeoff.

“On the flight to Afghanistan, Grisham told the small group of press that the purpose of the trip is “truly about Thanksgiving and supporting the troops.”

“It’s a dangerous area and he wants to support the troops,” Grisham said. “He and Mrs. Trump recognize that there is a lot of people who are away from their families during the holidays and we thought it would be a nice surprise.”

“Grisham also said that while the trip has been in the works for weeks, only a very tight circle of White House officials knew about it. To keep suspicions at bay, Grisham says the White House scheduled tweets to be sent from the President’s twitter account during the many hours that he did not have access to the internet.

“Thursday’s surprise trip is the president’s first to Afghanistan and his second to a conflict zone. Last year, he traveled to Iraq to visit U.S. troops on the day after Christmas.”

In the president’s address to the troops, he announced renewed peace talks between the United States and the Taliban, claiming the Taliban wants “to make a deal.”

“We’ll see if they want to make a deal,” he said. “It’s got to be a real deal, but we’ll see. But they want to make a deal. And they only want to make a deal because you are doing a great job. That is the only reason they want to make a deal. So I want to thank you and I want to thank the Afghan soldiers for — I’ve spoken to a lot of you today and you say they are really fighting hard. I was impressed with that actually. So I want to thank you.”

It’s no secret that Trump has long wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan, and his visit coincides with the Afghan government’s engagement in an extended stalemate with the Taliban. The visit was not only for the troops but to goose the Taliban into an agreement here.

The Trump administration has been negotiating with the Taliban for roughly a year in an effort to end America’s longest war. It is one of the promises Trump made when he was elected. The outlines of a deal are expected to involve a significant U.S. troop reduction in exchange for assurances from the Taliban that they would not allow terrorist groups to use Afghanistan as a launch point for attacks against the United States.

Military personnel said there were about 500 troops in the room to greet the president. The troops loved the visit and had a great time. So did President Trump. It’s great to have a Commander-in-Chief who loves the military the way Trump does.

Trump Afghanistan Thanksgiving

U.S. Army MAJ Jon Batt in Afghanistan

Trump Afghanistan Thanksgiving 2

U.S. Army MAJ Jon Batt in Afghanistan

Sources: Fox News, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Mail, The Epoch Times, The Hill, Politico

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