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President Trump and First Lady visit troops in Iraq


President Trump and the First Lady made an unannounced trip Tuesday to Iraq, his first visit to troops in a combat zone as president.

"President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

Trump had come under intense criticism for not visiting U.S. troops fighting overseas. Before heading to Florida for Thanksgiving, Trump vowed he would visit troops, but did not specify a date or specific location.

“I'm going to a war zone,” the president told reporters at the time.

Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both made unannounced visits while in office to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Trump’s trip comes during a tense time for the commander in chief and his national security officials, who have been critical of the president's decision to abruptly withdraw troops from Syria and reduce the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, which led to the resignation of widely respected Defense Secretary James Mattis.

The White House was eerily quiet before Trump's visit was made public. Many staff offices were empty with the lights off, and no Marine was stationed by the door of the West Wing, suggesting the president was not in the Oval Office.

Trump has not tweeted on Wednesday after spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day blasting out messages from his account.

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