Trump to teleconference with military on Thanksgiving

Stefani Reynolds

President Trump will participate in a Thanksgiving teleconference with members of the military on Thursday amid criticism of his support for troops.

The White House announced Wednesday night that Trump would be participating in “a Thanksgiving teleconference with members of the military” on Thursday morning. The president will be at his Florida resort in Mar-a-Lago on Thanksgiving. 

{mosads}Trump has drawn backlash in recent weeks, including for his decision not to visit Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate Veterans Day. Trump later made a rare public show of regret, saying during an interview with Fox News that he “should have” visited the cemetery. 

The president also received blowback for his criticism of retired Navy Adm. William McRaven, whom Trump knocked in remarks stating that he believed the U.S. should have killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden sooner.

Trump has yet to visit troops deployed in a war zone, a trip that has become a tradition for sitting presidents.

Trump told The Associated Press in a recent interview that he doesn’t think visiting troops in a war zone is “overly necessary.” “I’ve been very busy with everything that’s taking place here,” he said.

“I’m going to a war zone,” Trump then told reporters Tuesday in response to a question about his support for the troops. He did not offer any specific details.

Trump on Tuesday dismissed a Washington Post report that said the president has cited safety concerns as a reason for not visiting troops. He also cited “security concerns” during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Well, I think you will see that happen,” he said about visiting troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. “There are things that are being planned. We don’t want to talk about it because of — obviously because of security reasons and everything else.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Wednesday that Trump decides where to travel abroad, but said he has advised the president against visiting certain locations due to security concerns.

“There’s places that I’ve been very straightforward I don’t want him to go at certain times,” Mattis said. He declined to cite specific trips from which he’s deterred Trump from taking, adding that a trip to a war zone is solely up to the president. 

Tags Donald Trump James Mattis

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