President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger welcomes baby boy Tennessee lawmaker presents self-defense bill in 'honor' of Kyle Rittenhouse Five things to know about the New York AG's pursuit of Trump MORE said in an interview that he hasn’t been able to visit soldiers overseas yet because he has been “very busy.”
Trump told The Associated Press that while he doesn’t think it is “overly necessary” that he visit a military base in a combat zone, he plans to do so “at some point” in the future.
“I’ve been very busy with everything that’s taking place here,” Trump said in Tuesday's interview.
“I’m doing a lot of things. But it’s something I’d do. And do gladly,” the president continued. “Nobody has been better at the military. Hey, I just got them a pay raise. I haven’t had a pay raise in 11 years … I have done more for the military than any president in many, many years.”
When pressed about the increase in the number of troops serving in harm’s way in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Africa since he’s taken office, Trump said that he needs to keep soldiers abroad “to see safety at home.”
“The main thing I have to see is, I have to see safety at home … If I think people are likely to do some very bad things in faraway places to our homeland, I’m going to have troops there for a period of time,” he said.
Trump, who has called himself “the most militaristic person you’ll ever meet,” has drawn criticism from some veterans for not visiting active military personnel overseas, a long-held tradition of American presidents.
Alexander McCoy, a former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant and spokesperson for the grass-roots organization Common Defense, which has been critical of the president, told the New York Daily News in a report published on Wednesday that “veterans aren’t surprised Trump has no interest in going to war, after he used his wealth and elite connections to avoid the draft five times while working class people went in his place.”
“What makes us even more furious isn’t that he won’t visit us in combat zones now, but that he continues to recklessly escalate and extend the pointless quagmire wars he’s making us fight, while back at home he’s using us as political props for his agenda of using bigotry to divide us so he can give tax cuts to himself and his fellow billionaires,” he added.