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Flashback: Trump causes major international incident during Christmas visit to troops in 2018

Flashback: Trump causes major international incident during Christmas visit to troops in 2018

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As President Trump prepares to pack his bags and finally — finally — leave the White House for good, we’re looking back on some of his worst moments to make the ascension of President Joe Biden all the sweeter.

President Trump’s arrogance and utter disregard for any kind of diplomatic protocol caused an international incident on Christmas 2018 when members of the Iraqi parliament demanded that America immediately withdraw its troops from the country, accusing Trump of violating their sovereignty when he visited U.S. soldiers on Christmas night.

The elaborate public relations stunt deeply offended the host nation when Trump failed to meet with a single Iraqi official during his stay, communicating clearly that he held not an iota of respect for the people of Iraq and didn’t feel that the Iraqi government deserved to be treated as an equal partner.

Trump’s insulting behavior, coupled with his insistence that the 5,200-strong U.S. military presence in Iraq could be used to run operations in Syria as he withdraws the 2,000 U.S. soldiers stationed there, managed to infuriate both sides of the Iraqi political establishment.

“Trump needs to know his limits. The American occupation of Iraq is over,” said Islah bloc leader Sabah al-Saidi, who was upset that Trump had simply sailed into Iraq “as though Iraq is a state of the United States.”

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The other major political bloc, Binaa, said in a statement that Trump showed “a flagrant and clear violation of diplomatic norms,” and showed “his disdain and hostility in his dealings with the Iraqi government.”

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“Iraq should not be a platform for the Americans to settle their accounts with either the Russians or the Iranians in the region,” complained senior lawmaker Hakim al-Zamili.

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The United States invaded Iraq under false pretenses in 2003 and destabilized the country, plunging it into a horrific civil war. After withdrawing the vast majority of our troops in 2011, President Obama deployed more manpower in 2014 to help the Iraqi government fight the terror group ISIS (Daesh/ISIL), which had carved out a huge swath of territory in northwestern Iraq and eastern Syria.

Now that the majority of territory held by ISIS has been liberated and the terror group forced to retreat into the desert, the clamor for U.S. troop withdrawal has been steadily growing — and Trump threw a gallon of fuel on that fire with yet another frustrating unforced error.

To sum up, not only did President Trump trigger a public firestorm of criticism with his thoughtless and disrespectful remarks to our military servicepeople, he’s also created a major international incident that could put our troops in danger if it was not handled correctly — which it was not.

President-elect Joe Biden has a lot of work ahead of him repairing the damage that Trump’s idiocy has done to our crucial international relationships.

Original reporting by Phillip Issa at the Associated Press.

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