Trump holds call with troops, plans Coast Guard visit on Thanksgiving

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE held a teleconference with service members on Thursday morning for Thanksgiving before visiting members of the Coast Guard.

The White House said that Trump wanted to wish service members stationed around the world "a happy Thanksgiving and thank them for their service."

The call, which was announced on Wednesday evening, included members of all five branches of the U.S. military, according to the White House.

"Melania and I want to express our profound gratitude for the extraordinary sacrifices you make to defend our nation while you're away from your families and loved ones," Trump said during the call.

 

The president indicated on Twitter that he would also pay a visit to see members of the Coast Guard "to thank them for the great job they have been doing," though the trip was not on the president's official schedule for the day.

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Trump, who is spending the Thanksgiving holiday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., visited the Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet less than half an hour away from his resort.

While there, he praised Coast Guard officers for their work responding to hurricanes that have hit the U.S. this year. He also joked with Coast Guard members and invited them to his Mar-a-Lago resort.

“Anybody that wants to go, you go," he said. "If you break par, I'll give you $100," he joked.

Trump has sought to tout his support for the military following backlash over his decision to not visit a World War I cemetery during a trip to France earlier this month, a planned visit the White House said was canceled due to bad weather.

The president has also acknowledged regret for not paying a visit to Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington on Veterans Day, telling Fox News's Chris Wallace in an interview that aired last Sunday, "I should have done that."

Trump also engaged in a feud earlier this week with retired Adm. William McRaven, a former NAVY Seal who oversaw the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. After McRaven called Trump's rhetoric toward the press a threat to democracy, Trump said the former SEAL was a "Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDNC warns campaigns about cybersecurity after attempted scam Biden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Stone judge under pressure over calls for new trial MORE fan" and an "Obama-backer" and claimed that the U.S. should have killed bin Laden sooner than 2011. 

Additionally, Trump has faced renewed criticism for having not visited troops in Afghanistan or Iraq.

He said during his interview with Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" that his "unbelievable busy schedule" has prevented him from doing so. 

The president has maintained, however, that he is planning to visit troops in a combat zone, though he hasn't said where or when he will go. 

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisFed chief issues stark warning to Congress on deficits Why US democracy support matters Hillicon Valley: DOJ indicts four Chinese military officers over Equifax hack | Amazon seeks Trump deposition in 'war cloud' lawsuit | Inside Trump's budget | Republican proposes FTC overhaul MORE told reporters Wednesday that he has advised Trump against going to certain combat areas because of security concerns. 

“The president’s the commander in chief and he decides where he needs to go,” Mattis said when asked about Trump visiting troops.

“There are times I don't want him in certain locations, to be frank with you, for his security and the troops’ security," he added.

Updated: 12:13 p.m.