Here Are The Photos From Trump And Melania’s First Trip To A War Zone

Hanna Bogorowski | Reporter

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived back in the U.S. Thursday after an unannounced overseas visit to American military troops stationed in Iraq.

The president and first lady left for their first trip to a war zone late Christmas evening to “thank [the military] for their service, their success, and their sacrifice,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced.

The trip, which was largely kept secret until Sanders’ announcement, came in the middle of a partial government shutdown and after Trump declared his decision to pull American troops from Syria — a move that has infuriated many of his political allies as well as military experts. (RELATED: The New York Times’ Israeli, Kurdish Objectives For Americans In Syria Have Literally No End Point)

Speaking to troops at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq, Trump backed up his decision to pull troops from Syria, saying the U.S. can’t keep defending other nations without “being reimbursed in many cases at all.”

“We’re not the suckers of the world,” Trump said, saying nations must fight for themselves or pay a monetary price to the U.S. if U.S. resources are utilized. “We’re no longer the suckers, folks.”

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet members of the US military during a stop at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, on December 27, 2018. - President Donald Trump used a lightning visit to Iraq -- his first with US troops in a conflict zone since being elected -- to defend the withdrawal from Syria and to declare an end to America's role as the global "policeman." (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet members of the US military during a stop at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, on December 27, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

“I love you folks because most of you are nodding your heads this way,” the president continued, nodding his head yes as he looked out into the sea of troops. “We’re respected again as a nation.”

US President Donald Trump kisses First Lady Melania Trump as he speaks to members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq, December 26, 2018. - President Donald Trump arrived in Iraq on his first visit to US troops deployed in a war zone since his election two years ago (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

US President Donald Trump kisses First Lady Melania Trump as he speaks to members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq, December 26, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

Trump’s visit to troops abroad came nearly two years into his presidency, a timeline that drew criticism from many of his opponents who prematurely chided him by saying he was “the first president since 2002 not to visit troops at Christmastime.”

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks to U.S. troops in an unannounced visit to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq December 26, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC1801320710

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks to U.S. troops in an unannounced visit to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq December 26, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Nearly 100 service members greeted the president and first lady Wednesday, many sporting the infamous red “Make America Great Again” caps.

US President Donald Trump greets members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

US President Donald Trump greets members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

 

One young solider revealed he rejoined the military because of Trump’s election, to which the president reportedly replied, “And I am here because of you.”

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