CNN: Trump signing MAGA hats for troops may have violated Pentagon rules

CNN’s Pentagon correspondent said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE signing red “Make America Great Again” hats for troops in Iraq may have violated Defense Department rules.

"What commander allowed that to really happen?” Barbara Starr asked Wednesday night.

“This is very much against military policy and regulation,” Starr said. “Troops are not supposed to be involved in political activities; the U.S. military is not a political force.”

The president and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpEx-Melania Trump adviser raised concerns of excessive inauguration spending weeks before events: CNN The Hill's Morning Report - Trump moves green cards, citizenship away from poor, low-skilled White House seeks volunteers, musicians for Christmas celebrations MORE made unannounced visits to Iraq and Germany on Wednesday to visit the troops. Video footage showed Trump signing the red baseball caps that were a symbol of his presidential campaign.

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“The sayings 'Trump 2020' and 'Make America Great Again' are political slogans of a Trump campaign. They are not governmental sayings, to say the least,” Starr said.

Defense Department policy says that "active duty personnel may not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel should avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval, or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign, or cause."

Pool reporters said some of the troops had brought their own hats, including one that said “Trump 2020.”

“We will have to see if that actually proves to be the case,” Starr said.

Retired Rear Adm. John Kirby, a CNN analyst, also accused Trump of politicizing the visit, and called the hat signing “completely inappropriate.”

"Every time he's around military audiences, he tends to politicize it, and he brings in complaints and grievances from outside the realm of military policy,” Kirby said on CNN.

And CNN military analyst retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said that Trump put military personnel “in a very bad position” with his comments to the troops, which were criticized as being akin to a “campaign rally.”