Contrary to what some mainstream media news sites were reporting, President Donald Trump did not spend his Thanksgiving evening golfing at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. He spent the holiday thousands of miles away, making an unannounced visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan to serve them a warm meal.
The Air Force One presidential plane touched down at Bagram Airfield late in the evening on Thursday, with White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien, a small group of aides and Secret Service agents. Two surveillance blimps flew overhead.
Trump met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and served turkey to some U.S. troops before sitting down to eat Thanksgiving dinner with them. He chatted and had his picture taken with some of the U.S. forces deployed there.
“What a great job you do. It’s an honor to be here,” he reportedly told the troops.
“There’s nowhere I’d rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here with the toughest, strongest, best, and bravest warriors on the face of the Earth,” Trump added.
President @realDonaldTrump flew overnight to Afghanistan to spend Thanksgiving with our troops. 🇺🇸
"There's nowhere I'd rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here with the toughest, strongest, best, and bravest warriors on the face of the Earth." pic.twitter.com/glhw2LDm0Y
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 29, 2019
Reuters reports that Trump left the United States on Wednesday afternoon and arrived in Afghanistan in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with those troops who were unable to come to their families. This was reportedly his first trip to Afghanistan since entering the White House and came after a successfully negotiated prisoner swap.
“The Taliban wants to make a deal and we are meeting with them,” Trump told a group of reporters with him in Afghanistan. He also disclosed that his trip was kept secret for security reasons. “We say it has to be a ceasefire and they didn’t want to do a ceasefire. Now they want to do a ceasefire, I believe. It will probably work out that way.”
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 29, 2019
NBC News similarly reports that peace talks between Washington and Kabul have resumed:
Asked by the pool whether talks had restarted Trump said “yes” without giving details. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, added that “hopefully they will be successful and lead to Afghan-to-Afghan dialogue in the near future.”
Milley said Wednesday he was optimistic the negotiations would resume.
Afghan presidential elections were held in September but the results have not yet been released. The country’s incumbent president, Ashraf Ghani, tweeted about Trump’s visit Thursday.
He said that he and his American counterpart discussed “important progress we have jointly made in our military efforts in the battlefield” and that Trump “appreciated the tireless efforts of the Afghan security forces in this fight.”
— Dan Scavino Jr.🇺🇸 (@Scavino45) November 28, 2019
According to the report, Trump is still committed to finding an end to the War in Afghanistan, the longest-running war in U.S. history.
NBC News reports: “The war in Afghanistan is the longest in U.S. history, claiming some 147,000 lives since the conflict started in 2001, including about 40,000 civilians, 60,000 Afghan security forces and 3,500 coalition troops — about 2,400 of them Americans, according to a study from Brown University.”
Just returned to the United States after spending a GREAT Thanksgiving with our Courageous American Warriors in Afghanistan! pic.twitter.com/b2vgY5BH6z
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2019
President Trump has made a surprise Thanksgiving visit with US troops in Afghanistan. https://t.co/uSdVrv8qDO
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 29, 2019