McCaffrey: Trump Turned Visit Into 'Unheard of' Political Rally

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria during an unannounced visit to Iraq, saying that many people will start seeing things on Syria the same way he does.

President Donald Trump greets members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018.

You just got one of the biggest pay raises you ever received.

"The nations of the region must step up and take more responsibility for their future", said Trump.

McCaffrey also railed at Trump's declaration of a 10 percent pay raise to troops as their first in a decade.

I'm sure we'll be hearing about it if he said anything to question the existence of Santa Claus during his visit. So I wanted to let you know.

The 2.6 percent pay raise authorized for 2019 is the largest in the past nine years.

The day after Christmas, Melania Trump joined president Donald Trump in Iraq to surprise US troops.

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However, according to ABC, the pace of withdrawal could actually be far slower, appearing to confirm the president's statement during a surprise trip to Iraq on Wednesday when he said there would be a "strong, deliberate and orderly withdrawal" of U.S. forces from Syria, where they have been helping battle Islamic State jihadists.

While speaking to the troops in Iraq, Trump defended his decision to withdraw from Syria, saying that Islamic State (IS) is "very almost defeated" and the caliphate is gone. We could make it 3%, we could make it 2%, we could make it 4%.' I said, 'No. Make it more than 10%'. "You can't have any more time. First time in 10 years", he said.

"Trump has blurred the line between the office of the presidency and the campaign to such a degree that it is making it much more hard for troops to make that distinction on their own", according to CNN military analyst John Kirby, a former Pentagon spokesman.

"MAGA hat, campaign rhetoric cast cloud over Trump Iraq visit", said Thursday's CNN headline. "The American leadership was defeated in Iraq and wants to return again under any pretext, and this is what we will never allow", he said.

Military pay raises are tied to increases private-sector wages, as calculated by the Department of Labor.

Trump had planned to spend Christmas at his private club in Florida, but stayed behind in Washington due to the partial government shutdown.

Qais Khazali, the head of the Iran-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia that fought key battles against IS in north Iraq, promised on Twitter that Parliament would vote to expel USA forces from Iraq, or the militia and others would force them out by "other means".

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