After Trump visit, Iraqi lawmakers demand USA withdrawal

The White House  Flickr

The White House Flickr

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Maryland President Donald Trump once opined that it wasn't "overly necessary" for him to visit troops in danger zones overseas.

The president told service members at al-Asad air base in Iraq that he was proud to secure them a much-needed pay bump of "more than 10 percent" after years of stagnant wages.

"You haven't gotten one in more than 10 years - more than 10 years", he said Wednesday. "Make it more than 10 percent, '" Trump added.

"You protect us. We are always going to protect you".

In fact, military pay has increased every year for more than three decades. Trump, aided by congressional action, did reverse the subsequent six-year trend that began in 2011 of pay raises that hovered between 1 and 2 percent.

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By injecting a heavy dose of campaign-style rhetoric and partisan optics into this week's holiday visit with troops in Iraq - his first trip to a war zone since taking office - President Donald Trump has once again proved he has no problem blurring the lines between politics and his relationship with the USA military, according to military experts and a top Democratic lawmaker.

One US military official and the White House maintained Thursday that the campaign gear signed by Trump had been brought to the event by the troops, a distinction they argued indicates that the items were personal, rather than political in nature. Raises in 2008, 2009 and 2010, for example, were all 3.4 percent or more. In 2018, the military was given a 2.4 percent raise. The Military Times reported that Trump's initial pay raise proposal was for 2.1 percent, but lawmakers approved the higher 2.4 percent mark.

"I said, 'No. Make it 10 percent". As well, several in the last 10 years have been larger than service members are getting now - 2.4 percent this year and 2.6 percent in 2019. "That's a long time". "It's been more than 10 years", he continued. It's great. You know what? "First time in 10 years", he said. But diplomatically, Trump's visit did not go well - and according to the Associated Press, he offended some Iraqi officials so much that they are now demanding that USA forces leave the country. "We were fought very hard by the Democrats and others". And, by the way - I know you don't care about this - but that also includes raises for our military.

The figures Trump mentioned refer to budget authority, the amount of money the Defense Department is able to spend - that's different from the actual amount of money spent, known as budget outlays.

The current budget authority for the Pentagon is not a record.

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