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Trump declares end to United States 'policeman' role in surprise Iraq visit

Trump declares end to United States 'policeman' role in surprise Iraq visit”

President Donald Trump and the first lady quietly swept into Iraq Wednesday to pay a holiday visit to United States troops, at last making good on the President's promise to travel to one of the war zones he has derided as costly blunders.

They travelled there unannounced "late on Christmas night" to thank troops for "their service, their success and their sacrifice", it said.

Defence Secretary Jim Mattis tendered his resignation last Thursday over Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria and draw down numbers in Afghanistan in addition to other differences.

This was the first time Trump has visited troops in an overseas war zone during his presidency.

"I want to come and pay my respects most importantly to the great soldiers, great troopers we have here", he said during his approximately three-hour visit, during which he also defended his decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

"A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking", Trump said of his decision on Wednesday in remarks to a small group of reporters traveling with him. "I have done more for the military than any president in many, many years".

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"By the time this was posted, the President and Mrs. Trump were in Iraq with the troops", Fox News' Brit Hume asserted.

During his remarks, the Commander-in-Chief encouraged US service members to keep up the fight and vowed to continue the fight against ISIS from Iraq.

"We're, right now, the policemen of the world and we're paying for it", he said on a Christmas call with troops.

Tom Shillue asked why Trump didn't announce his plan to withdraw all 2,000 USA troops from Syria after visiting Iraq, instead of a week before: "Wouldn't this have been an excellent time for him to announce his changes in Syria, after having visited Iraq?"

Trump said it's time to leave Syria because the US should not be involved in nation-building, and that other wealthy nations should shoulder the cost of rebuilding Syria.

I'm sure we'll be hearing about it if he said anything to question the existence of Santa Claus during his visit.

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Trump has also wanted to end protracted USA involvement in overseas conflicts, and to force allies to pay more for the costs that he says fall disproportionately on American taxpayers. Many groups are, you know, we've never even been close to these numbers.

Trump had planned to spend Christmas at his private club in Florida, but stayed behind in Washington due to the shutdown.

Trump's visit comes at a time when his Middle East policy is in flux.

The Iraqi prime minister recently said Iraqi troops could deploy into Syria to protect Iraq from threats across its borders.

There was no mention of the proposed Afghanistan withdrawal.

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