Soldier says Trump inspired him to re-enlist, Trump responds: ‘I am here because of you’

President Donald Trump dropped in for a surprise visit at a military base in Iraq on Wednesday and was met with a warm reception by members of the armed services.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders finished off the trip by sharing photos of a poignant moment when a soldier told Trump that he returned to the military because of the president. Trump responded, “And I am here because of you.”

Sanders shared the moment in a tweet Wednesday that included pictures of the soldier talking to Trump and taking a selfie with Sanders.

Poignant exchange between Trump, soldier

The press secretary later told The Hill, “It was an incredible and humbling experience. “I’m beyond grateful for the men and women who serve in our military and sacrifice so we can be free.”

The moving exchange in the dining room of the Al Asad Air Base was a highlight of Trump’s unannounced brief visit, his first to a combat zone since taking office. Trump flew to Iraq with First Lady Melania Trump under the cover of night late on Christmas Day.

The visit came as the media criticized Trump for not visiting soldiers overseas during the Christmas season. Numerous outlets including NBC were forced to quickly correct their reports.

After Trump upended the media narrative, the press found new ways to grinch about the trip as journalists went out of their way to sleuth on soldiers who sported Trump hats and flags, continuing a recent trend of journalists becoming Twitter tattle-tales who call out conservatives as a substitute for investigative reporting.

CNN complained bitterly about Trump signing MAGA hats and suggested that he broke Pentagon protocols.

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Warm reception undercuts media propaganda

The trip also followed two weeks of negative coverage of Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan. The decision prompted Defense Secretary James Mattis to resign and fueled the media narrative that Trump is suffering a falling out with his generals.

But the media’s negative tone was nowhere to be found at the base Wednesday, when the president took selfies with soldiers and heralded America’s victory against ISIS to a cheering crowd. Joined by the first lady, Trump mounted the stage to cheers of “USA!”

Speaking to the troops in a green flight jacket, Trump championed his administration’s progress in the fight against ISIS and defended the withdrawal from Syria, declaring that the United States can no longer be the “policeman of the world.” “We’ve knocked them out. We’ve knocked them silly.”

Trump said that the United States’ mission in Syria was complete and that countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia will have to do more to protect their own region from now on. Trump also told the soldiers at the Iraqi base that ISIS was nearly defeated in the country but that the base would continue to serve as a springboard for fighting the terror group.

“If we see something happening with ISIS that we don’t like, we can hit them so fast and so hard they really won’t know what the hell happened,” Trump said. “I think a lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking. It’s time for us to start using our head.”

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