President Donald Trump hoped to gain public favor by sneaking off to visit troops in Iraq on Christmas night. But his Boxing Day visit drew more criticism than praise for several missteps taken by the President.
Before official visits, previous Presidents received protocol briefings to ensure they followed whatever guidance, regulations and customs required. It is unclear if Trump skips these briefings or disregards them, but none of his visits to any location or event have been without gaffes.
His trip to the troops was no different.
First he failed to notify or ask the Iraqi government about his visit. They cried foul over the breach of sovereignty rights.
Then Trump revealed the location and identities of covert operation unit members for a Twitter photo-op. While the President does have the authority to declassify classified information, it is generally done for reasons other than a Twitter selfie.
Then Trump participated in potential violations of the military code of conduct by handing out campaign materials . Trump claims military personnel brought him MAGA hats to sign which are official Trump campaign materials which military personnel cannot display while in uniform, but others claim Trump brought the hats and handed them out.
And while lying is not a new occurrence for the President, people were particularly upset that he lied to troops during his Iraq visit. Trump boasted, not for the first time, about a 10% pay increase he gave the military.
Trump never gave a 10% pay increase.
With all the criticism Trump received, some of his supporters feel the need to defend the President.
North Carolina Republican Representative Mark Meadows took to Twitter to tweet Trump's case. Considered one of Trump's biggest allies in Congress, Meadows posted:
"President Trump has consistently shown a deep admiration and respect for our troops..."
President Trump has consistently shown a deep admiration and respect for our troops—whether or not the cameras are… https://t.co/r3UKcSR2iU— Mark Meadows (@Mark Meadows) 1545860779.0
But many felt Meadows may have missed a few facts in his assessment of Trump's deep admiration and respect for our troops, including comedian John Fugelsang.
Fugelsang responded to Meadows with a partial list of the President's past with the military.
-DT lied to every soldier in Iraq abt a non-existent 10% pay raise -DT deployed troops to Mex border for a midterm… https://t.co/L7DwMMuAeo— John Fugelsang (@John Fugelsang) 1545933455.0
And Fugelsang was not alone in passing on facts to Meadows.
Others shared their own assessments.
@RepMarkMeadows He cares so much that it took two years for him to bring his Ringling brother’s visit the day after… https://t.co/qAxTqRljkt— Kaye (@Kaye) 1545906924.0
@RepMarkMeadows The “determined ally” that revealed the location of a covert Navy Seal operation? That one?— Heidi Stevenson (@Heidi Stevenson) 1545917343.0
@RepMarkMeadows Trump literally argued military ballots should be ignored during elections… where is this "deep admiration" you speak of?— William LeGate (@William LeGate) 1545934733.0
More than a few brought up Trump's avoidance of military service.
@RepMarkMeadows Not as deep as those bone spurs— Carlos Alazraqui (@Carlos Alazraqui) 1545939653.0
@RepMarkMeadows I think you mean President Bone Spurs......— Deb Ohh (@Deb Ohh) 1545934862.0
The President's record with veterans also made many people's lists.
@RepMarkMeadows As a veteran, I beg to differ.— Cathe B💙 (@Cathe B💙) 1545934299.0
@RepMarkMeadows Trump didn’t celebrate Veterans on Veterans Day. That act says everything about his respect for Veterans. Period.— Royal Realist (@Royal Realist) 1545906359.0
@RepMarkMeadows Remember when he said he liked people who weren’t captured? Or when he disparaged a gold star famil… https://t.co/fvYxWehwRh— Batman: Barr Calls Me An Enemy of The State (@Batman: Barr Calls Me An Enemy of The State) 1545881740.0
@RepMarkMeadows John McCain says hi— Grudge of Whales (@Grudge of Whales) 1545933598.0
While many questioned Meadows himself.
@RepMarkMeadows https://t.co/hPiqSIqQ3M— kathleen (@kathleen) 1545935439.0
@RepMarkMeadows SO, I can only assume that you are taking advantage of legal pot.— Gloria Zarabozo (@Gloria Zarabozo) 1545899499.0
@RepMarkMeadows That is a huge lie, and you know it. When he says things like “I know more than the generals” he s… https://t.co/582RPJgGNX— Laurie B (@Laurie B) 1545909542.0
@RepMarkMeadows Do you some sort of filter that excludes all the ways he doesn't respect our military? Because the… https://t.co/9mXLFy1Iz8— Jacqui Cebrian (@Jacqui Cebrian) 1545935873.0
President Trump's trip to Iraq is proving to be more of a misstep than a step in the right direction. It remains to be seen how many members of the GOP remain in lockstep with Trump anyway.