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Iraqis denounce Trump visit, United States troop presence

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US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq

CNN host Don Lemon said on Wednesday on "CNN Tonight" that when he and his family "turned on CNN and we saw the president politicizing a Christmas message, it was like, we kept saying, 'He's like the Grinch'".

Trump's visit was a surprise and marked Trump's first visit to the combat zone.

Trump has not announced any plans to remove any of the 5,200 troops in Iraq and has never made any promises that he will.

Other mainstream media outlets and liberal critics followed suit and piled on the president, accusing him of selfishly abandoning the troops. The White House and military officials have said the hats were brought along by troops and not distributed by the president's team, but McCaffrey dismissed the suggestion.

Also being taken into account by planners in the longer timeline is the amount of time it will take to remove all the heavy equipment the US has accumulated in Syria. "We don't want to be taken advantage of any more by countries that use us and use our incredible military to protect them".

Iraqi lawmakers Thursday demanded US forces leave the country in the wake of a surprise visit by President Donald Trump that politicians denounced as arrogant and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

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When it comes down to it, it seems President Trump is going to continue to be criticized whether he goes or doesn't go visit service members.

And CNN's Jim Acosta wondered Wednesday on "The Situation Room" if Trump had turned the visit into "a campaign stop".

Many had issues with the president signing the hats, with some calling it "inappropriate" and "against military policy and regulation" - even though the hats are actually personal belongings, not campaign items, as the troops brought them themselves.

Sam Vinograd said on CNN that presidents usually emphasize the importance of the soldiers' mission and Americans' support, but Trump instead mentioned the border wall and "things that he's done for them".

Several lawyers also thought the president didn't deserve the criticism, as they agreed President Trump did nothing wrong, IJR Red reported. "They always exaggerate and they always put him in a position where he ends up on top" King said.

But, he hastily added, "we need the troops to be motivated by the president of the United States, their commander in chief, and not find themselves being drawn into cheering over political statements about whether the Democrats did do something or not do something, or whether he was getting funding for something or not getting funding for something". "That was not his main motive but that's certainly the way it worked out", King added.

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Those who follow along with the Santa Tracker also have the opportunity to learn about areas around the world he visits. Live streams do have a tendency to sometimes go down, so we'll add more live streams if needed as the day progresses.

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