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Trump Tells Troops In Iraq He Got Them Their First Pay Raise In 10 Years, Which Isn't Even Remotely True
President Trump bragged Wednesday to troops stationed in Iraq that he had secured them a massive pay raise, repeating a false claim he's made repeatedly on the campaign trail.
Trump made the boast during his first visit as president to troops in a combat zone.
Trump, who spent more than three hours along with First Lady Melania Trump at Al Asad Air Base near Baghdad, addressed several hundred servicemen and -women, boasting that he had delivered them “one of the biggest pay raises you've ever received.”
The president also stated — incorrectly — that he had authorized the first military pay increase in a decade.
“You haven't gotten one in more than 10 years,” Trump said. “More than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one."
Military pay, in fact, has risen every year for three decades. It was raised 2.4% in 2018 and will rise by another 2.6% in 2019, due to the National Defense Authorization Act signed by Trump in August.
Although the 2.6% increase is the largest in nine years, Trump still exaggerated significantly, claiming that he delivered a pay raise some four times larger than that and, in another uncertain anecdote, that he fought for it over unnamed military personnel who’d wanted a smaller increase.
“They said, ‘You know, we could make it smaller. We could make it 3%. We could make it 2%. We could make it 4%,’” Trump claimed. “I said, ‘No. Make it 10%. Make it more than 10%.’
“Because it's been a long time. It's been more than 10 years. It's been more than 10 years,” he continued. “That's a long time. And, you know, you really put yourselves out there, and you put your lives out there. So congratulations.”
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pose for a photograph as they visit members of the military at a dining hall at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018.Associated Press/Andrew Harnik
Presenting himself as an ardent supporter of the military just days after the resignation of respected Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, who cited policy disagreements with the president in an astonishing resignation letter, Trump also repeated another common falsehood — his claim that the new Pentagon budget is the largest increase in defense funding ever.
“We have secured a record increase to our military budget, and we are purchasing all of this great equipment — $700 billion last year; $716 billion — with a ‘b’, with a ‘b,’” Trump said. “We were fought very hard by the Democrats and others. But I said, ‘We have to take care of our military.’”
The figures Trump mentioned refer to budget authority, the amount of money the Defense Department is able to spend — that’s different from the actual amount of money spent, known as budget outlays.
The current budget authority for the Pentagon is not a record.
©2018 the Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The new 'John Wick 3' trailer has motorcycle sword fights, nut-munching war dogs, and a surprise 'Matrix' reference
Never bring a knife to a gunfight. Unless you're John Wick, in which case you can bring whatever the fuck you want — a pencil, a katana, a stolen horse, a set of antique knives, a crotch rocket, or a pair of flak-jacketed war dogs.
Either way, the result's going to be the same: John Wick is the only one walking away from that fight.
WASHINGTON — The commandant of the Marines has warned the Pentagon that deployments to the southwest border and funding transfers under the president's emergency declaration, among other unexpected demands, have posed "unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency."
In two internal memos, Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller said the "unplanned/unbudgeted" deployment along the border that President Donald Trump ordered last fall, and shifts of other funds to support border security, had forced him to cancel or reduce planned military training in at least five countries, and delay urgent repairs at bases.
The Pentagon's chief spokesman is refusing to say whether the last ISIS stronghold in Syria has fallen a day after President Donald Trump announced the caliphate's demise for the fourth time in as many months.
"Wherever ISIS exists, we will continue to pursue them with our partners and allies in the region," Charles Summers told reporters on Thursday at a Pentagon media event.
When asked if the fight to clear ISIS from Syria's Middle Euphrates River Valley has ended, Summers replied, "We continue to fight against ISIS wherever they may be."
Should your friend and humble Pentagon correspondent live for another 50 years, you can expect to read a Pentagon Run-Down in 2069 about how many U.S. troops President George P. Bush III plans to leave in Syria. (Assuming, of course, that Joe Biden doesn't run in 2068.)
That's because current President Donald Trump had vowed to pull all U.S. troops from Syria back in December, but since then has agreed to leave some U.S. service members there. The White House initially said about 200 U.S. troops would remain in Syria, but government officials have since pegged the number at several hundred.
Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that up to 1,000 U.S. troops could make up the residual force in Syria. The Pentagon pushed back on that story unusually hard, presumably because defense officials are terrified that Trump will think the military is trying to force him to commit more troops to Syria.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Thursday complained that flights by U.S. nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bombers across the Baltic Sea near Russia's borders were creating tensions in the region, but Washington said they were needed to deter potential adversaries.