Trump goes to troops in Iraq, media goes into contortions

Photo: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik


In a whirlwind 24 hours, major media outlets went from scolding President Trump for supposedly not visiting troops on Christmas, to mocking his Christmas speech to American troops at an air base in Iraq, to finally, outing U.S. troops for the crime of holding Trump flags and bringing hats for him to sign — noting they might be doing something against military code.

Trump had made a surprise visit to the nation’s troops at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq and Ramstein in Germany before heading back to Washington, D.C. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted the president had actually arrived late Christmas evening, surprising the country and those at the base, with a visit from him and the first lady.

The Trumps were greeted with much fanfare in both locations; he was asked to sign hats and “Trump” signs were spotted. Sanders was popular too.

Sure, Trump’s speech in Iraq was a bit of a self-referencing, hodgepodge of remarks about Syria and ISIS, but expecting differently would be like expecting Obama to drop the first-person singular pronoun, skip the false “false choice” rhetorical trick, and eschew references “arc of history.”

Let’s face it: Whether Trump went to Iraq as purely a PR stunt, or whether he went out of genuine concern and respect for our nation’s military, he was right to visit service members sacrificing time away from their families to keep this country safe. They are the ones who deserve the recognition and publicity of their commander in chief.

By remaining coy and then surprising the military members, Trump effectively gave the military the recognition they deserve. Then, like the ultimate troll the president often is — whether purposely or by default — it caused the media to bend itself into a pretzel backtracking, spinning, and complaining. Even though Trump is far from flawless, he now looks heroic, selfless, full of grace, humor, and concern while the media, which doesn’t like to be played for fools and see its narrative disrupted, looks petty, boring, even belligerent in their attempt to frame Trump’s behavior.

By pointing out Trump’s supposed indifference as late as December 25th, to scoffing at his speech December 26th, the media are the losers, while Trump — who has committed so many faux pas this year it’s uncomfortable — ends up making our soldiers, sailors, and airmen look courageous, and he looks like he used his time during the government shutdown wisely and benevolently.

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