Trump said it’s because of US military gains that he can withdraw 2,000 forces from Syria. During his first visit to a troubled region, Trump also said he has no plans to withdraw US forces from Iraq.
Trump’s trip was shrouded in secrecy. Air Force One flew overnight from Washington, landing at an airbase west of Baghdad under the cover of darkness Wednesday evening. It is his first visit with troops stationed in a troubled region.
Trump, who speaks often about his support for the US military, had faced criticism for not yet visiting US troops stationed in harm’s way as he comes up on his two-year mark in office. He told The Associated Press in an interview in October that he “will do that at some point, but I don’t think it’s overly necessary.” He later began to signal that such a troop visit was in the offing.