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Trump reportedly ‘afraid of’ going to combat zone to visit US troops

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Donald Trump Salute Salutes
President
Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One, as he returns to
Washington from a weekend in Florida, at Joint Base Andrews,
Maryland, March 5, 2017.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

  • President Donald Trump, in private conversations,
    expressed concern for his safety in potential trips to
    Afghanistan or Iraq to visit deployed US service members, a
    former senior White House official told The Washington
    Post.
  • “He’s never been interested in going,” the former
    official said. “He’s afraid of those situations. He’s afraid
    people want to kill him.”
  • Trump also reportedly turned down the idea of visiting
    deployed troops because he believed he could be tied to failed
    military conflicts, other current and former advisers
    said.
  • Trump, who has yet to visit US troops in a combat zone,
    recently received criticism for his absence in nearly two years
    as commander-in-chief.

President Donald Trump, in private conversations, expressed
concern for his safety in potential trips to Afghanistan or Iraq
to visit deployed US service members, a former senior White House
official said in a
Washington Post
report published Monday.

“He’s never been interested in going,” the former official said.
“He’s afraid of those situations. He’s afraid people want to kill
him.”

Trump, who has yet to visit US troops in a combat zone, recently
received criticism for not making the trip. This may change,
however, according to The Post and Trump’s own comments. In
recent weeks, Trump reportedly floated the idea to his advisers.

“I think you will see that happen,” Trump told Fox News host
Chris Wallace. “There are things that are being planned. We don’t
want to talk about it because of security reasons and everything
else.”

Trump’s immediate predecessor, President Barack Obama, visited
troops in Iraq as a US senator in 2008. He made another trip to
Iraq after becoming president in 2009, and went on to make four
trips to Afghanistan.


BARBARA BUSH
First
lady Barbara Bush spends Thanksgiving with the troops of
Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia, November 22,
1990.

Presidential Library for George
H.W. Bush


Trump has also turned down the idea of visiting deployed troops
because he believed he could be tied to failed military
conflicts, other current and former advisers told The Post. Aides
also noted that shortly after taking office, Trump was noticeably
affected following an unannounced trip to receive the remains of
US Navy SEAL William “Ryans” Owens, who was killed during a raid
on an al-Qaida compound in Yemen.

Although some of the preparations ahead of a president’s visit to
a combat zone fall squarely on the shoulders of service members,
the move is generally seen as a morale boost for troops,
particularly during the holiday season when many are away from
their families.

Despite his numerous claims that his support for the military is
unparalleled, Trump continues to be at odds with high-profile
veterans and their families, notably those who remain critical of
his policies. 

On Sunday, former Joint Special Operations commander Adm. William
McRaven, who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, became
the latest veteran to be targeted by the president.

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Trump referred to McRaven as
“a Hillary Clinton-backer and an Obama-backer,” and he downplayed
the military’s role that took down bin Laden.


admiral william mcraven
Retired
US Navy Adm. William McRaven at his retirement ceremony in
2014.


SSG
Sean K. Harp for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff/Flickr



“Frankly, wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a
lot sooner than that,” Trump said to Fox News host Chris Wallace.

McRaven, who was
reportedly
once on Trump’s shortlist for national security
adviser, penned a stunning opinion column in rebuke of
the White House’s controversial decision to revoke CIA Director
John Brennan’s security clearance.

“Your leadership … has shown little of these qualities,”
McRaven wrote in reference to Trump. “Through your actions, you
have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on
the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.”

In recent days, Trump raised eyebrows after he decided not to
attend a memorial service in France that marked the end of World
War I. The White House cited inclement weather and logistical
difficulties.

Trump continued to draw scrutiny after failing to visit Arlington
National Cemetery after Veterans Day, a tradition observed by his
predecessors. He later expressed regret in not attending.

“I should have done that,” Trump said to Fox News’ Wallace.

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