The day after Christmas, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced that the President and First Lady had made a covert trip to visit American troops deployed in Iraq.
“President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas,” the Press Secretary wrote.
President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas. pic.twitter.com/s2hntnRwpw
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) December 26, 2018
This is President Trump’s first visit to a conflict zone. He visited troops and senior military leadership at the Al Asad Air Base, west of Baghdad, where he thanked them for their service.
The Commander-in-chief also told the base that because of the U.S. military advancements made against ISIS, he was able to pull 2,000 troops out of Syria. The President further noted that he would not be pulling any out of Iraq.
“We’re no longer the suckers, folks,” Trump told the members at the Al Asad Air Base. “We’re respected again as a nation.”
“I made it clear from the beginning that our mission in Syria was to strip ISIS of its military strongholds,” he added.
The flight to Iraq was completed in top secret and required the implementing of high-level security protocol. For example, President and First Lady riding were forced to ride in a darkened plane with the blinds closed and no lighting allowed. This was done in order to avoid detection from those who would seek to bring them harm.
President Trump shared a photo to his Twitter saying, “Melania and I were honored to visit our incredible troops at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 26, 2018
President Trump’s trip to Iraq comes at a time when the Middle East continues to face incredible turmoil, with many Christians finding themselves under brutal persecution or being forced to flee because of the threat to their lives.
In fact, the Christian population in the Middle East is heading towards extinction if something doesn’t change soon with regards to the security situation. In 2003, there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq, whereas now, there are less than 250,000.
As previously reported by Faithwire News:
Things hit a low when ISIS took over in 2014, and it wasn’t until last Christmas, December 2017, that the terrorist group was eradicated. Although ISIS is no longer calling the Ninevah Plains home, there is much destruction left over from their time there.
Families are slowly returning to their hometowns only to find their homes and places of work completely destroyed.
There are now just two countries in the Middle East where Christians can live in relative freedom: Israel and Lebanon. Because of this, millions of Christians have sought refuge in Lebanon, but there aren’t many areas in which they can safely reside.
While we celebrate the Christmas season, many Christians in the Middle East can’t even gather together to pray without facing severe persecution and even the threat of death. So, as we spend time with family and friends this holiday season, let us keep these faithful Christians in our prayers and ask that God will grant them strength to endure.