Trump returns to Washington after surprise visit to Iraq

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage MORE early Thursday returned to the White House after a surprise trip to visit troops in Iraq and Germany.

“Just returned from visiting our troops in Iraq and Germany. One thing is certain, we have incredible people representing our Country - people that know how to win!” he tweeted Thursday morning.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump had faced criticism for not visiting troops in a conflict zone since his inauguration in 2017 but this week resumed a White House tradition of making such a visit during the holiday season.

While in Iraq, Trump discussed his recent announcements on foreign policy, including defending his surprise decision to withdraw troops from Syria

“You know, the way it was reported was like I just pulled out,” Trump told reporters. “I didn't just pull out. I've been talking about it for a year and a half.” 

“I said, ‘Let's get out of Syria. Let's bring our young people home,’ ” he added.

When declaring the withdrawal last week, Trump said the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had been defeated, but then said his decision would allow other nations to defeat ISIS. The announcement faced bipartisan criticism that the move would allow adversaries such as Iran and Russia to dictate terms on the ground. 

The president during his trip also reiterated his demand that $5 billion for a border wall be included in any spending legislation that would end a partial government shutdown that is now in its sixth day.

“Whatever it takes. We need a wall. We need safety for our country, even from this standpoint. We have terrorists coming in through the southern border,” he said.

The border wall has been the focal point of ongoing negotiations between Congress and the White House to pass a funding bill to end the shutdown.