Well Played Mr. President, Well Played
The surprise visit to Al Asad Airbase in Iraq on Christmas Day by the President and First Lady was classic Donald Trump. And the welcome they both received from the military serving at that installation was obviously raucous and heartfelt.
The soldiers crowded around the President and First Lady for ‘selfies’ and their affection for their Commander in Chief and his gorgeous wife was apparent. There’s nothing the members of the Armed Forces appreciates more than when the President pays them a personal visit. President George W. Bush experienced that first hand on his visits to Baghdad during the height of the war in Iraq when he was so well received by those who under his orders were sent to fight, and sometimes die.
On a personal note – I saw then Senator Hillary Clinton in 2006 during her visit to the Al Faw Palace on Camp Victory, the major base at the time located on the outskirts of Baghdad where the Multinational Corps – Iraq was headquartered.
Nary a single camouflaged military uniform was anywhere near her when she sashayed across the atrium in Saddam’s former palace. Nothing but ‘suits’ likely from the U.S. Embassy in the Baghdad ‘Green Zone’, and from her Secret Service protective detail was all that one saw crowded around her.
There was no affection shown for Hillary from the soldiers during her visit, as had been so openly displayed for former President Bush, and what we witnessed most recently for President Trump and First Lady Melania. I can’t even imagine Hillary commanding the Armed Forces of the United States. And fortunately for those serving in the military she isn’t.
As we have all come to expect, the news media’s criticism of President Trump for having not yet visited his troops overseas suddenly changed from criticizing his prior absence, to criticizing him for using the military as a ‘photo op’.
The ‘king of photo ops’ Barack Obama cynically used the Armed Forces as a political tool whenever it was convenient. Certainly those soldiers who were chosen to be graced with his presence were respectful on those occasions, but one never witnessed the near mayhem you saw when then President Bush visited the troops, or for President Trump on his most recent Christmas Day visit to Al Asad.
I have spoken to a number of former members of the military who retired during Obama’s eight years in office and received their military retirement documents with his signature affixed. None will display on a wall the signed documents for that reason, Barack Obama’s signature is on it.
“Keep em guessing and off balance” has been President Trump’s credo since he took office when it comes to dealing with his detractors, both in the news media and among his political enemies. He is a master of the ‘exploding heads’. His Iraq visit succeeded in exploding many of his enemies’ heads, as was expected and planned.
All President Trump has to do is fire off a late night ‘tweet’ and the Democrats become near apoplectic! They simply can’t understand that many of those very ‘tweets’ are intended for that very purpose, to elicit a reaction from his political enemies and those in the news media. The President plays them like a cheap Bass Fiddle.
But it is readily apparent to anyone who isn’t controlled by the ‘Hate Trump Media’ that this president really connects with the lower ranks of those he commands in the military. He fully understands that his decisions can have an immediate effect on those on the ground in hostile lands. And he understands the finality that sometimes results from those decisions. And he cares.
The First lady, a ‘legal’ immigrant to the United States also appreciates what the American Armed Forces has done throughout history to protect and defend our great nation. Perhaps even more so considering that she and her parents grew up in Slovenia, what was once part of communist Yugoslavia.
So while President Trump’s visit to the troops may be criticized by his enemies in the news media, among the Democrats, and by many out in Hollywood, I can guarantee that as far as the troops in Iraq were concerned all politics went out the window. And the affection that was displayed was real and genuine from both sides.
So well played Mr. President, very well played.