Transcript for SPECIAL REPORT: President Trump visits U.S. troops in Iraq
This is an ABC news special report. Tom comments. Hey good day we are familiar with breaking news president trump is meeting with troops in all Asad airbase in a rock west of Baghdad. This is the president's first visit to a combat zone since becoming commander in chief. These are the images that we've just gotten right now you can see both president trump and firstly people on it from meeting with troops there. The president had hinted at this trip in recent weeks but for security reasons. Could not provide any. This trip does come with the backdrop of two major moments in his presidency first seen. Some of the chaos in Washington right now to shut down under way amid his own staff shake ups but also and more importantly as it relates to this trip. His decision to pull troops out of Syria and also expected draw down in Afghanistan and his secretary defense we should mention. Has just resigned with that want to get to our senior national correspondent Terry Moran who has been monitoring the president's movements from Washington Terry the president. Will be greeting or brave men and women overseas at a time he singling he wants to bring troops back home. That's right Tom this is been his signature issue on foreign policy. From the time that he ran which is put America first we're done try to take care of the west the world especially. Through force of arms and large deployments that is his philosophy. But take a moment as we show these pictures look at the smiles on the faces. Of the men and women serving over their 141000. Americans in uniform in Afghanistan. And they have for anybody who's been overseas with him as anti you have. It is great for them frankly to be remembered at a time like this by their commander in chief whatever you think of president trump this is a moment for them. To be recognized. To spend some time with the president of the United States while they serve the country but you are absolutely right this is. This is president trump. And a very different mission than President Obama or President Bush had they were both. Very keen on making sure that the troops were there for the duration until victory however defined president trump makes no secret he doesn't want. America having large deployments. Indeterminate. Never ending overseas. And we're seeing in the America first president over there really. For the first time with troops into combat zone as you pointed out. But making a difference for them on an individual basis as every president does. And terror want to point out these images were just seen now this is the first time we're seeing these images from the president and the First Lady. What touched on Iraq meeting with the troops there during this Christmas holiday. Terry you know he did take some flak though for for taking this long to get to a combat zone. He sure did that it had been noted. That no other presidents Doug president by George W. Bush and President Obama. Made visits to combat zone soap fairly frequently president trump had not and he bridled. At that criticism as he does it pretty much every criticism. But it was leveled at him because it was noticed. Notice by men and women in uniform certainly knows by the media. But this is this is what he is doing today and it is perhaps making up for that but more important. And I yelled once again just these are men and young men and women serving. A long way away from home in the Christmas holidays I spent Thanksgiving in Iraq with troops once and it just it just makes a difference for them. To have these kinds of recognition. This recognition. In in Iraq and Afghanistan it makes a difference for them. Okay Terry Moran stand by for a so want to bring her chief global affairs anchor Martha Raddatz with spend so much time with our troops. Overseas mark the two questions to you first what does this mean to the troops but more importantly the families back here at home. And also the timing of this trip because as we've mentioned secretary Mattis resigning he's announced he's pulling out of Syria and the drawdown in Afghanistan. Well without commentary mentioned did it mean to greet deal with the troops get it is always preaching to be recognized. Are your commander in chief from happening travel with their action at it it speaking at a conference mark I cannot remember really any extra sleepy. Going into a conflict zone right there is featured less dangerous and it has been in many years in the past and I keep that's what we accomplish the president trump probably chose to go to little rocky because it is computer. I kicked that story right now they'd really be pushed. Back I think President Obama of course started at. The push back a crisis but he pulled out those troops in 2011 there it epic comeback to send them back giving when he or teach. When I troops took over Mosul and of course Mosul branch out into the end we claimed by Iraqi forces and US forces so if he would consider that she got hurt but when you do when you look there at that its president and the First Lady bear that constant sound and end. National security advisor John Bolton appears to be there as well it's really does mean something to the troops that means something for the family back home that the president would make it. This trip. During a holiday. It was a point out that we just see national security advisor John Bolton there we we don't see everybody that is traveling with the president but noticeably absent secretary Mattison and and and may be. Others but again these are the fresh pictures we're just getting these are the first images we're getting in from his trip to Iraq what do bringing terror Paul Mary. Our White House correspondent who's live at the White House for us this afternoon in Terry you just got some information about some details of how this trip came together. That's right Tom late last night on Christmas the president boarded Air Force One it was a surprise unannounced. Mission but mainly because of security reasons. He follows other administration officials his son in law Jared Kushner went to Iraq in 2017. And then secretary of state Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Matt as they went to Afghanistan. Last year and I actually went with Pompeo and another unannounced surprise. Trick and the reason is that it is so fragile on the ground the security in this region. When we travel look Pompeo we had to actually land in Bob brown and then take two plates to get to cobble because when Mattis had traveled there. They actually the Taliban tried to attack the airbase after he last. So it's a really fragile situation and president trump reportedly. Was nervous about taking off for the Middle East but as a Terry and Martha have noted he's taken a lot of heat for not visiting the troops abroad especially during the holidays and I'm sure it goes a long way Saddam. Terra pulmonary with some of that new reporting this afternoon terra. Our thanks to you and again as terrorists said these these trips or so dangerous they literally are under the radar because of the security risks as morphin noted. The First Lady accompanied president trump on this trip that something that is somewhat unique in the the last few administrations we've seen we usually do not see first ladies. Visit combat zones. Definitely not in it in recent memory. So that stands out to us as well we will have much more on this again if you're just tuning in president from the First Lady millennia trump busy of the troops some of our troops stationed in Iraq. We're gonna have much more on this story on ABC news lot of course on abcnews.com or we'll have a full wrap up. On world news tonight we thank you so much for watching I'm Tommy Ellis in New York we now return for scheduled program. This has been a special. From BP.
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