Donald Trump lied to troops in Iraq that he had secured them a double digit pay raise when nothing could be further from the truth.
The HuffPost reports: ‘The president told service members at al-Asad air base in Iraq that he was proud to secure them a much-needed pay bump of “more than 10 percent” after years of stagnant wages. Many of the troops in attendance may have been surprised to learn they hadn’t seen a pay increase in more than a decade. In fact, military members have seen a pay raise in each of the last 10 years, ranging from 1 percent to 3.9 percent, according to the Defense Department. They even saw pay bumps when other federal workers were subjected to a three-year pay freeze in the wake of the Great Recession. The pay increase for 2019 passed by Congress and signed by the president in August will be 2.6 percent, the largest since 2010. It is not far above last year’s raise for troops, which was 2.4 percent.’
— Don Lemon Tonight (@DonLemonTonight) December 27, 2018
Said Trump: “Is anybody here willing to give up the big pay raise you just got? You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years. More than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one.”
Trump to the troops in Iraq:
"You haven’t gotten [a raise] in more than ten years. More than ten years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one….I said no. Make it ten percent. Make it more than ten percent. Because it’s been a long time."
Just FYI, none of this is true.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) December 26, 2018
Trump also said he was in no rush to replace Defense Secretary James Mattis: ‘While in Iraq, Trump indicated he would not rush to nominate a new secretary to replace Mattis, the first defense chief in decades to resign over policy differences with the president. Trump said Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, whom he named on Sunday to replace Mattis in an acting capacity starting on Jan. 1, “could be there for a long time.” Trump has come under withering criticism from fellow Republicans, Democrats and international allies over his decision to pull out of Syria because he believed Islamic State militants have been defeated. Critics argue that the decision could undercut U.S. leverage in the region and undermine diplomatic efforts to the end the Syrian civil war, now in its eighth year.’
Trump’s full address:
Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough blasted Trump in his Thursday morning monologue: “The troops were clearly glad to see him, I think every American should be grateful for that, but we should be concerned that Trump once again used a captive audience of American heroes to push his unpopular domestic agenda.”
Added Scarborough: “U.S. Leaders once stood up to bullying threats from tyrannical thugs…But now we have a weak president who fears Russia and Turkey, and is in full retreat across the globe and he has gifted to Middle East, to Russia, to Iran and to ISIS. It just seems to me that we aren’t the suckers after all, Mr. President. You are, and you’re the sucker for believing that dismantling America’s most successful military operations across the globe will do anything other than help Russia, ISIS, Iran and our other geopolitical enemies, our threats. That is not going to make America great again. It’s going to make us much weaker than we’ve been at any time since World War II.”
Making his entrance:
Trump’s visit angered some Iraqi leaders who saw it as a blow to their sovereignty, Reuters reports: ‘Sabah al Saadi, the leader of the Islah parliamentary bloc, called for an emergency session of parliament “to discuss this blatant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and to stop these aggressive actions by Trump who should know his limits: The U.S. occupation of Iraq is over.” The Bina bloc, Islah’s rival in parliament and led by Iran-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, also objected to Trump’s trip to Iraq. “Trump’s visit is a flagrant and clear violation of diplomatic norms and shows his disdain and hostility in his dealings with the Iraqi government,” said a statement from Bina.’
Trump also violated protocol designed to keep secret locations of special forces secret by tweeting a video of Seal Team 5 at the al-Asad Airbase in western Iraq.
Newsweek reports: ‘Malcolm Nance, a former U.S. Navy intelligence specialist with experience in Iraq told Newsweek on Wednesday that posting the video was a break from traditional procedures that are usually strictly enforced and designed to safeguard the identities of U.S. special operation forces, especially when deployed to a combat zone. “Operational security is the most important aspect of personnel deployments. The real names, faces, and identities, of personnel involved in special operations or activities, are usually a closely held secret in a combat zone,” Nance said. “Revealing them casually, through an unusual media exposure even if it’s the commander in chief, would prove a propaganda boom if any of this personnel are detained by a hostile government or captured by a terrorist group. There would be no denying who you are and what you do.”’