Rep. Anthony BrownAnthony Gregory BrownThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question CBC lawmakers rip Justice Democrats for targeting black lawmakers for primaries Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need exit strategy with Iran | McConnell open to vote on Iran war authorization | Senate panel advances bill to restrict emergency arms sales MORE (D-Md.) said President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE's remarks on his trip to Iraq referring to political issues were "inappropriate" for a holiday visit of the troops.

In an interview with CNN's "New Day," the Democrat and Army veteran knocked Trump for bringing a political message to Iraq's Al Asad Airbase, where Trump visited with service members this week.


"It was entirely inappropriate for the president to visit our troops and talk about a highly controversial issue," Brown said on CNN.

Brown urged Trump to instead put forward a coherent vision for what the U.S. military's role in the Middle East should be, rather than focusing on unrelated policy issues during his visit with troops. During this week's visit to Iraq, Trump touched on a number of issues in comments to U.S. forces including his controversial planned wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"The other thing the president ought to do if he wants to talk policy ... lay out for our troops: 'Hey, this is my strategic vision for your role in Iraq. This is what I see as the end state,' " Brown said Friday.

"That's what the president should focus on, not speaking to policy issues, especially controversial policy issues that today don't even affect the military," he added.

The president was criticized this week across the political spectrum for comments he made during the Middle East trip, including incorrectly telling troops that a 10 percent pay raise was imminent. The military will receive a 2.6 percent raise in 2019, far lower than the amount quoted by the president.

"You just got one of the biggest pay raises you've ever received," Trump said at the airbase. "You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years — more than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one."