Trump, visiting troops in Iraq, defends Syria pullout plan

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President Trump and first lady Melania Trump appeared in Iraq on Wednesday for a surprise visit with troops and senior military leadership at Al Asad Air Base. There, he said it’s because of U.S. military gains against the Islamic State terror group that he can withdraw 2,000 forces from Syria.

“We’re no longer the suckers, folks,” Trump told service members at the base, which is situated in western Iraq. “We’re respected again as a nation.”

During his first visit to the troubled region, Trump also said he has “no plans at all” to remove any of the 5,000 U.S. troops from that country.

Trump’s visit — which is also his first to a combat zone as commander in chief — comes on the heels of his announcement about pulling troops out of Syria, and the rumored removal of thousands of troops in Afghanistan.

Trump said the U.S. mission in Syria was to strip the Islamic State (ISIS) of its military strongholds — not to be a nation builder. He said that’s a job that should be shouldered by other rich nations — reiterating his America First policies and an ideology that challenges America’s roles as global cop.

“I made it clear from the beginning that our mission in Syria was to strip ISIS of its military strongholds,” Trump told troop Al Asad Air Base. west of Baghdad.

The president said the U.S. presence in Syria was never to be “open-ended,” and that Turkey has agreed to eliminate ISIS remnants. – READ MORE

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