President Trump showed up in Afghanistan on Thursday for a surprise Thanksgiving visit with troops. President Trump arrived at Bagram Air Field shortly after 8:30 p.m. local time and spent more than two-and-a-half hours on the ground, speaking to troops and meeting with Afghanistan’s president.
Reporters were under strict instructions to keep the trip a secret to ensure his safety. President Trump’s public schedule said he would be at Mar-a-Lago to host a videoconference call with troops. It’s his first trip to the country as president. While in Afghanistan, President Trump said he hopes to bring the number of troops in Afghanistan down to 8,600 from the current 14,000.
During his whirlwind trip, the president served turkey to troops. Military personnel told reporters on the ground there were roughly 500 troops in the rooms where the president went.
“There’s nowhere I’d rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here with the toughest, strongest, best and bravest warriors on the face of the earth – you are indeed that,” the president told the troops.
The president was greeted with cheers when he mentioned the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“Our message to the bloodthirsty terrorists is clear, you will not escape your wretched fate because the long reach of the really awesome power of the United States military is unstoppable,” President Trump said. “We have the most powerful military in the world by far. There’s nobody close. And we’re going to keep it that way. We’re going to keep it that way. This evening, as millions of families sit down at their dinner tables back home, they’ll say a prayer for the men and women serving in our nation in Afghanistan and deployed all around the globe. Great men and women all around the globe.”
Last year, just after Christmas, President Trump made his first-ever visit to a combat zone as commander-in-chief when he and First Lady Melania touched down in Iraq to pay a surprise visit to U.S. troops based there.