White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Wednesday shared behind-the-scenes images of President Trump’s first visit to a war zone as commander in chief, including one memorable exchange with a soldier.
“Powerful moment – Member of United States Army told the President he came back into the military because of him. And President Trump responded, ‘And I am here because of you,'” Sanders tweeted of Trump’s trip to Iraq. “I met him after and he gave me the patch from his arm. Incredible.”
The interaction in the dining hall of the Al Asad Air Base, west of Baghdad, was also recorded in a pool report, but Trump relayed what the service member said to the traveling journalist.
Trump spoke to troops and posed for selfies during the unannounced three-hour visit Wednesday evening. He was accompanied by first lady Melania Trump and national security adviser John Bolton.
Trump’s Middle East travels comes after he had been widely criticized for being the first president since 2002 not to spend time with military personnel during the holiday season. It also followed his announcement last week that he intended to withdraw troops from neighboring Syria and nearby Afghanistan.