Patterico's Pontifications


President Trump Visits The Troops

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:21 pm

[guest post by Dana]

President Trump is in the news today for having made a surprise visit to the troops in Iraq:



In typical fashion, a big media outlet jumped the gun because Trump. NBC published this headline on Christmas day:

Trump becomes first president since 2002 not to visit troops at Christmastime


As of today, NBC has not corrected the headline. However, there is now an editor’s note published ahead of the report:

Editor’s note: On Wednesday, a day after this article was published, President Trump made a surprise visit to Iraq to greet U.S. troops. It was his first presidential visit to a combat zone.

From NBC’s report:

On Christmas Day, President Donald Trump took part in a long-running practice of presidents who called troops stationed around the country and the world.

But he broke from a recent tradition of actually visiting troops and wounded warriors. He did so in 2017, when he visited wounded troops at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Dec. 21 (and invited Coast Guard service members to play golf at his course in West Palm Beach, Florida).

By staying home on Tuesday, Trump became the first president since 2002 who didn’t visit military personnel around Christmastime.

Interestingly, White House correspondent at NBC News Kelly O’Donnell tweeted that no details of the trip had been released to the public, which is standard practice due to security reasons. She also noted that back in November, President Trump alluded to an upcoming trip to visit the troops:


NBC wasn’t alone:


I’m sure there are more out there, but you get the point.

Honestly, I don’t get why this is even an issue to jump on. But everything these days is when it involves Trump. And let’s face it, he gives everyone a lot to work with. So he went to visit the troops, that doesn’t make him a saint. Trump is still Trump. But. Who is anyone to criticize that which bolsters the morale of American men and women serving our country thousands of miles from home? Shouldn’t that be something we universally cheer on, regardless of which president made the trip? This seems like such a no-brainer to me. Apparently, the go-to comeback to news that the president did indeed visit the troops at Christmastime is that he was shamed into it. I say, so what? It seems ludicrous to me that troops missing their families back home really care about anyone scoring political points, or pundits smugly gloating, But he was shamed into it! Certainly our deployed troops have far more pressing matters with which to be concerned.

You’d think politics could be damned for just one brief moment, but apparently not. More’s the pity.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


85 Responses to “President Trump Visits The Troops”

  1. Ugh.

    Dana (023079)

  2. if he’d filled up air force one with those poor people and brought them home it would’ve been a christmas to remember that’s for sure (the christmas we came home a hallmark insta-classic)

    good lord it really is time them people came home

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  3. NBC News and others were wrong on so many levels. The story made no sense because “Christmastime 2018″ is not over yet. The response was appalling. NBC News should be issuing a groveling apology. Instead they offered a ridiculous excuse that the visit had not been announced when they wrote their story.

    David in Cal (0d5a1d)

  4. well after the ‘plastic turkey’ incident of 2003, that tim blair made into a riff, I don’t give them a benefit of the doubt, in other news qassem suleimaini, the Iranian revolutionary guard warlord may very well be dead in the airstrikes in Damascus,

    narciso (d1f714)

  5. I think it’s very appropriate to point out Trump had to be shamed into doing this. Obama had enough understanding of the PR effect to visit Iraq in the fourth month of his first term.

    Kishnevi (f73d18)

  6. Funny how the media now acknowledges Iraq as a “combat zone.” Remember when Trump’s predecessor triumphantly pulled all of our troops from that area to great acclaim from all of the right people, only to quietly send lots of them back in his final year?

    JVW (558ace)

  7. I think it’s very appropriate to point out Trump had to be shamed into doing this. Obama had enough understanding of the PR effect to visit Iraq in the fourth month of his first term.

    Fair enough. But one thing about Trump is that even more so than Obama, he seems to be very contemptuous of overseas military engagements. This is a huge departure from traditional Republican orthodoxy. I’m not sure if I like where this is going, though it is fun watching all of the progressives who hated Bush and Obama’s overseas adventurism suddenly go quiet now that they have a President they hate who pretty much agrees with them.

    JVW (a39b6e)

  8. Actually no, Reagan only had Grenada and the Libyan intervention, Bush had Panama, and the gulf war which he tried to keep to a round number

    Narciso (d1f714)

  9. Eisenhower had a brief show the flag exercise in Lebanon at the tail end of his term, he pointed avoided direct intervention in 53 in diem Ben phu of course Hungary in 56

    Narciso (d1f714)

  10. Kishnevi,

    I don’t know how you or anyone else can know that for sure. In fact, you can’t. No really. There are reports suggesting it, and Twitter users on the left also saying it’s so, but where’s the evidence? Can you show me something definitive?

    Both sides behave horribly, whether left or right, and both will do anything to either boost their guy or shame their enemy. Trump seems to be one or the other to most people.

    This seems typical of what I’ve read:

    Trump faced bipartisan criticism for not visiting any U.S. forces deployed in combat zones since he took office in January 2017. There were rumors last week that he might travel to Iraq or Afghanistan during what had been planned as a 16-day holiday season vacation at his South Florida resort, but White Houses, for security reasons, keep such trips under wraps.

    But that doesn’t show that he was shamed into anything. Apparently this had been in the works for at least a month.

    Or here’s Huffpo’s Twitter Users Suspect Trump Didn’t Visit Iraq Troops Out Of Generosity Of His Heart, but then you read the article and it’s a selection of people making a guess. Nothing more. And if you’re anti-Trump, the speculation will naturally skew against him.

    Also, here’s Daily Kos: Trump Slipped Off To Iraq, Apparently Shamed For Not Visiting Troops For 23 Months. Again, speculation.

    The problem is, Trump has alienated so many Americans, and with good reason. So if he does do anything that is right and in the best interest of others, no one assumes it is due to a upright motive. By default, it is always because he is dishonest, wants to deflect away from some big mess he has made, or wants the adulation of his base. I’m hard-pressed to see someone as arrogant and without self-awareness as our president is, shamed into anything. But I’m open to being proved wrong in this case.

    Dana (023079)

  11. “I think it’s very appropriate to point out Trump had to be shamed into doing this.”
    Kishnevi (f73d18) — 12/26/2018 @ 5:21 pm

    Because being a Trump critic means never being shamed into admitting they were wrong.

    Munroe (1ef2c5)

  12. Ah and our troll was doing the endzone dance:

    Narciso (d1f714)

  13. This is a huge departure from traditional Republican orthodoxy.
    You mean a yuge departure. :)

    It might not be such a departure. Remember that up through 9/10/2001 Bush43 was adverse to nationbuilding and similar enterprises, and that prior to WWII and the Cold War, conservatives were generally isolationists.

    But Trump’s delay in visiting the front lines I think highlights two things
    –his relative incompetence at the most basic things, in this case PR. And you would think a man who was a TV star and a frequent focus of the tabloids would at least be good at PR.

    –his apparent contempt of the military in general. Maybe he does admire them and the apparent contempt is merely another aspect of his incompetence not letting his real attitude show through. But he seems to treat the military as props and nothing more. Obama tried to hide his dislike of the military…he at least understood the PR aspect.

    Kishnevi (f73d18)

  14. Nice post, Dana…

    “You’d think politics could be damned for just one brief moment, but apparently not. More’s the pity.”

    But you can’t be surprised. Look at the nonsense cheerleading (in both directions) we see even here.

    It’s all about narrative. Nothing more. Nothing less. Pro-Trump folk are going to celebrate every flippin’ thing the guy does. Anti-Trump folk are going to find fault with every flippin’ thing the guy does.

    To be honest, the reaction of the Left is what I am used to with Team R POTUS folk. What is different now is the automatic cheerleading from the other direction.

    I think that when a politician—any politician—does something you think is good, you should say so. And when that politician does something that you don’t care for, you should say that, too.

    But in particular, EVERYONE needs to use the same set of calipers for politicians “on their side” as they use for politicians “not on that side.”

    The one thing that Trump is particularly good at is revealing mindless partisanship all around, in my opinion.

    Simon Jester (78e977)

  15. Not the same when you have a million voices in every magazine every TV program most movies, declaring him persona non grata and we have a few voices refusing to buy that story

    Narciso (d1f714)

  16. I don’t know how you or anyone else can know that for sure.

    True. But notice that the WH didn’t suggest such a trip until people started criticizing him for not going.

    And (reiterating this) contrast with Obama, who made the trip within four months of being POTUS, and at the comparable point in his presidency was making his third visit to the frontline troops. Bush 43 averaged out to one a year. If Obama could understand the PR need to do this, shouldn’t Trump?

    Visiting the troops is one of those things that modern POTUSes do. Trump ought to have none this from the start.

    For me it illustrates Trump’s real problem: he’s not really competent.

    Kishnevi (f73d18)

  17. And what happened afterwards from showing disrespect to general McChrystal at Copenhagen to honoring Michael hastings bogus report, to pulling out of Iraq and largely reducing Afghanistan to a skeleton crew, do we need revise Benghazi how DHS regarded veterans as a threat how about ft. Hood

    Narciso (d1f714)

  18. Twenty hours in the air; three hours on the ground in Iraq.

    Home Alone 2 was only 2 hours. The Iraq War ‘ended’ in 2011 and seven year later VIPs still have to play ‘hide and seek’ coming and going there. Such a waste of resources.

    Memo to Barron: ‘your mother wears army boots.’

    Yes, really– she did.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  19. We know the sequester was Obama’s devising because he wanted to cut the military.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  20. Narciso, that’s just it. Obama had contempt for the military, but still managed the basic optics that obscured the contempt.

    Trump, the “great businessman” and TV/Tabloid star can’t even get a basic bit of PR right,

    Kishnevi (f73d18)

  21. ‘Republican orthodoxy.’ Still, LBJ was no Republican; see the Vietnam War for details. As to ‘military contempt;’ they earned it: ‘the Five O’clock Follies’ says it all.

    ‘War is too important to be left to the generals.’ – Clemenceau

    But then, it sure is good for business.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  22. Dana, wondered what Trump could do to ‘make Christmas about me’… seems he managed something after all.

    Wonder what’s planned for New Year’s?!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  23. “We know the sequester was Obama’s devising because he wanted to cut the military.”

    The sequester was part of the Budget Control Act of 2011. Passed by a majority of Republicans in a Republican controlled congress.

    Davethulhu (c2a30b)

  24. Next Christmas, ‘the troops’ stuck in the sand should reciprocate by visiting Trump at the White House, Camp David and Mar-A-Lago.

    Bring ’em home.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  25. The sequester was the bribe that got Obama to sign the bill. So it’s quite fair to link it to him.

    Mind you, willingness to appropriate money for weapons programs and the desire to evacuate military zones are not really measures of how a person thinks of members of the military.
    Meeting basic needs like adequate pay and veterans care is, and Obama failed on those counts.

    Kishnevi (f73d18)

  26. No, it’s not a fair inference that Trump was shamed into doing this. He is not part of the Rapid Deployment Force. It would have taken more than the time between the NBC Fake News and the trip to make the arrangements.

    nk (dbc370)

  27. But he was so brilliant at pr, most servicemen through it, that’s why he blocked their exercising the franchise.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  28. “Meeting basic needs like adequate pay and veterans care is, and Obama failed on those counts.”

    The President doesn’t determine military pay raises.

    I’ll agree that Obama didn’t do the VA any favors, but he wasn’t any worse than previous administrations.

    Davethulhu (c2a30b)

  29. Anyways saw aquaman, I had to see something more absurd than the news, momoa makes Stallone seem like a royal academy graduate, Wilson glowers like his merc role in the a team, and well amber heard…

    Narciso (d1f714)

  30. . It would have taken more than the time between the NBC Fake News and the trip to make the arrangements.
    The criticism got acute around Veterans Day. More than enough time to plan a visit.

    Kishnevi (f73d18)

  31. But he was so brilliant at pr, most servicemen through it, that’s why he blocked their exercising the franchise

    Actually the military tends to be conservative, so they didn’t see through anything. They just did what they would be doing anyway.

    Kishnevi (f73d18)

  32. Ok. Thanksgiving would have given Melania time time enough to put together an outfit, too. So what was the beef on November 11, 2018? That this was the first time since 2002 that the President did not visit the troops on December 25, 2018?

    nk (dbc370)

  33. @30. Helsinki. And rain; he was all wet w/that excuse avoiding the WW1 cemetery on the 100th; it was the whole point of the expense and trip.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  34. Boba fetts father is papa curry, guess what book in on his living room when Kidman is rescued from the seas.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  35. Shadow over innsmouth, get it?

    Narciso (d1f714)

  36. Actually the dunwhich horror,

    Narciso (d1f714)

  37. Trump, the “great businessman” and TV/Tabloid star can’t even get a basic bit of PR right,

    If by “can’t even get a basic bit of PR right” is synonymous with “can’t keep the fake-news media from publishing malicious lies about him”.

    nk (dbc370)

  38. Innsmouth is often cited as proof of HPL’s racism (in his case, like Trump’s, directed at “degenerate immigrants”).

    BTW, reading Joseph Ellis American Dialogues. The “Then” sections are much more interesting than the “Now” sections, which could be posted at HuffPo without any change. Know who was a flaming racist horrified at idea of race mixing? Jefferson. Adams can be claimed as an ideological ancestor by both Occupy and the Tea Party. I’ll leave you to read the book to see the irony in calling him anyone’s ideological ancestor.

    Kishnevi (f73d18)

  39. I dont follow, yes Jefferson was a farmer, he hated industry and barely tolerated bankers

    Narciso (d1f714)

  40. You forget that Joseph Ellis made up so much of his cv

    Narciso (d1f714)

  41. Ellis quotes Jefferson`s letters. Read the book and you’ll see what I mean. Jefferson as a focus for racism and Adams as a focus on economic elites.
    He also covers Madison on constitutional law and Washington on foreign policy. Haven’t gotten to read them yet.

    Kishnevi (f73d18)

  42. You forget that Joseph Ellis made up so much of his cv
    One can not forget what one never knew (I will take your word for it).

    Kishnevi (f73d18)

  43. Really racism not economic liberty, I dont doubt Adams was a Boston brahmin, but along with most federalists wanted an ordered society

    Narciso (d1f714)

  44. Back In 2004, he pretended he had not only served in Vietnam but had been aide to westmoreland

    Narciso (d1f714)

  45. Adams foresaw that elites would via the power of money eventually dominate any political order.

    And in cold fact he had better right to be called a farmer than Jefferson. He was actually an outsider in relation to the colonial Boston elites. It was his grandsons and great grandsons who could be called brahmins, but not him.

    Kishnevi (f73d18)

  46. Innsmouth is often cited as proof of HPL’s racism (in his case, like Trump’s, directed at “degenerate immigrants”).

    Bram Stoker beat him to it. “Dracula” was an allegory about sinister foreigners ravishing British maidens and infecting them with their foreign cooties. And Dracula is now part of the culture, whereas the Cthulhu Mythos is mostly a joke for a relative few.

    nk (dbc370)

  47. I think you’re mixing up with Henry Adam who held xenophobic notions as well as revolutionary ones

    Narciso (d1f714)

  48. Yes he followed fron polidori and byron,

    Narciso (d1f714)

  49. Lord Ruthven was not created by Byron. He was a parody of Byron by his ex-girlfriend, Lady Caroline Lamb, in her novel “Glenarvon”, who in another time and in a different persona would have written and sang a song titled “Trouble”.

    nk (dbc370)

  50. Anyhow, just about every American author from the first half of the 20th century can be tarred with the racism brush. Racism in American literature during that time was as casual and commonplace as lighting a cigarette.

    nk (dbc370)

  51. he Media have been so consistently and stupidly anti-Trump that they have no credibility on the subject. If tomorrow CNN, NBC, and the Washington Post ran a story claiming that Trump had been found with a smoking gun in his hand over the body of a murdered women, I would confidently expect to see editorials explaining why, although wrong in every particular, they didn’t actually need to run a retraction within the week.

    C. S. P. Schofield (531c3d)

  52. So Trump didn’t go visit the troops in a combat zone during Christmas time, he’s a horrible despicable excuse for a human being, thinking only of himself and never of anybody else. How pathetic and miserable is it that he can’t even go visit the troops like a decent human being? No, he just had to stay home and sulk. Sad!

    Wait, Trump *did* go visit the troops in a combat zone during Christmas time?

    So Trump had to make this all about himself, didn’t he? What a horrible despicable excuse for a human being, thinking only of himself and never of anybody else. How pathetic and miserable is it that he couldn’t stay home like a decent human being? No, he had to go traipsing off to a combat zone for a photo-op with the troops. Sad!

    “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t”? No, I don’t believe I’m familiar with that phrase. How dare you suggest that some people are going to criticize Trump no matter what he does? These are fair and impartial non-partisan journalists here, they don’t take sides, they just report the facts.

    Jerryskids (702a61)

  53. Welcome to the party, have an ale, ipa?

    Narciso (d1f714)

  54. maybe these pitiful troops need to man up and learn how to make it through christmas without a visit from daddy president

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  55. i haven’t heard anyone say anything nice about aquaman in real life

    i’ve heard Mary Poppins is kind of a crowd-pleaser, which i suspect means it’s a bit on the manipulative heartstring-tugging side, but it has musics

    i like musics

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  56. They gave zach snyder as little to do, it did borrow from lovecraft even aspects of John carter.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  57. Considering that HP Lovecraft married a Jewish woman, he wasn’t very good at the whole racism thing.

    Ingot9455 (4db0d9)

  58. happyfeet:

    Sure, make some special forces folks mad at you. I mean I understand the whole comedy routine thing, but when do the self-preservation instincts kick in?

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  59. He won’t see them coming, it’s like what happened to samuel Jackson at the end of wanted.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  60. I am shocked to learn that presidents do photo ops.

    AZ Bob (885937)

  61. Just when you thought they couldn’t get any more ridiculous:

    May? May!?Hey, #FakeNews foopter verps! Your mommas may have violated gerbils.

    Oh, and here’s another hint: Read the Constitution. The Pentagon does not make rules for the President. The President makes rules for the Pentagon.

    nk (dbc370)

  62. That’s one way to compete with animal planet.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  63. It’s over a hundred years old, nk.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  64. Russian Collusion is going the way of Piltdown Man and Stormy petered out, so all they got for 2020 is to keep the hate boiling, with speculation, innuendo, and outright lies.

    nk (dbc370)

  65. And I’m glad to see that my Trumpdar is not on the fritz after all, but is in fact sensitive to retrotemporal resonance. Even though he had not left yet, he was planning to put an ocean and two continents between himself and the White House and that was enough for me to like him.

    nk (dbc370)

  66. CNN is like Harvey’s invisible six foot rabbit, or the great gazoo.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  67. The New York times are like the creatures from the trench,

    Narciso (d1f714)

  68. Comeone montagu, Dave squid bring the hot takes.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  69. everything you need to know about our “special forces” you can learn from eric greitens i think

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  70. They cant all be Cameron Poe from con air.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  71. Speaking of secret visits, last April, McClatchy reported that Trump “attorney” Michael Cohen visited Prague, “according to two sources familiar with the matter”. This is what I said at Redstate, a couple or three months before that a$$hole streiff permanently kicked me out.

    If it turns out to be true that Cohen did indeed meet with the likes of Kosachev, then it wouldn’t be difficult to infer that Putin and Trump, one-degree removed, collaborated and/or colluded in the 2016 election. This is all the more reason why the Mueller investigation should proceed to its conclusion, unimpeded, and also why Trump should just butt out and tweet about something else.

    Since that time, no other news organization confirmed the story, but McClatchy did nothing to back away from their report. Today, rather than back away, they doubled down.

    A mobile phone traced to President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen briefly sent signals ricocheting off cell towers in the Prague area in late summer 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign, leaving an electronic record to support claims that Cohen met secretly there with Russian officials, four people with knowledge of the matter say.
    During the same period of late August or early September, electronic eavesdropping by an Eastern European intelligence agency picked up a conversation among Russians, one of whom remarked that Cohen was in Prague, two people familiar with the incident said.
    The phone and surveillance data, which have not previously been disclosed, lend new credence to a key part of a former British spy’s dossier of Kremlin intelligence describing purported coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia’s election meddling operation.

    This time around, McClatchy has four sources and each source obtained his/her information independently. Cohen’s denial–that he’d never been to Prague–could be technically true but misleading if he landed near (but not in) the Czech Republic city.

    Paul Montagu (d9f8dc)

  72. #74

    Love to know what Cohen told Mueller about this. I can’t believe he’s “cooperate”, and leave this part out.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  73. If Cohen was in the Czech Republic, there has to be some sort of paper trail. Even if he flew on a Trump Organization plane and stayed at Trump Bohemia, there would be paperwork to show a TO plane flew to Europe and a TO executive stayed at the hotel. There would be bills for food and other amenities. There would be staff and outside witnesses who saw him, however briefly.

    Until such emerges, I would simply suspect this cell phone data to be disinformation by…someone.

    kishnevi (bb03e6)

  74. Cohen would be the most nearly reliable source. Much more than people familiar with incidents picked up Eastern European intelligence agencies, I think. What do you think?

    nk (dbc370)

  75. This is just Dan Jones recycling his claims through fusion.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  76. He was in la at the time, he was never out of the states at that time.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  77. Just a new lie in a different bag.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  78. 79. The official alibi story told by Cohen was that he was in Italy.

    Earlier stories claimed Mueller had evidence Cohen was in Prague. Now that Mueller has said Cohen cooperated, and Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, continues to assert he denies being in Prague, I am a bit skeptical. Mueller isn’t going to give Cohen props for cooperating if he the guy has lied to him. And I have difficulty believing a lawyer is going to knowingly trot out a big fat lie for his client, without hedging it. Lanny Davis’ comments seem pretty un-hedged.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  79. #74

    Marcy Wheeler. one of the smarter pundit dogging Mueller’s trail, doesn’t think much of the McClatchy story (or the Steele dossier)

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  80. Comeone montagu, Dave squid bring the hot takes.

    Looks like my decoder ring is on the fritz.

    Paul Montagu (de1def)

  81. I find Marcy Wheeler very inside-baseball and condescending. I have a hard time understanding what she’s trying to say most of the time.

    JRH (fe281f)


    says Wheeler in her piece critical of McClatchy, suggesting that the McClatchy reporters don’t know this, when in fact they state basically the same thing:

    “Mueller’s investigators, some of whom have met with Steele, likely also pursued Cohen’s cell phone records. It would be a common early step in such an investigation for a prosecutor to obtain a court warrant for all U.S. and foreign phone company records of key subjects, even those dating back more than 18 months.”

    JRH (fe281f)

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