President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have made a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq on the day after Christmas.
As is customary for presidential travel to war zones, the trip was not announced ahead of time. Air Force One flew from D.C. to Al Asad air base, just west of Baghdad, where it landed under cover of darkness, according to the AP.
Trump and the First Lady greeted military personnel at a dining facility at Al Asad Air Base, according to Reuters photographer Jonathan Ernst.
“I want to come and pay my respects most importantly to the great soldiers, great troopers we have here,” Trump said, according to the White House pool report.
The president traveled to Iraq “late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and senior military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a tweet.
President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas. pic.twitter.com/s2hntnRwpw
— Kayleigh McEnany 45 Archived (@PressSec45) December 26, 2018
This is the first time Trump has visited troops in an overseas war zone during his presidency.
Trump stayed in Iraq for about three hours before taking off from Iraq at 10:53 p.m. local time. The president has one more “scheduled stop” — the White House pool report didn't say where — before he heads back to D.C.