During the visit, Trump told reporters that he has "no plans at all" to remove US troops from Iraq, instead stressing his interests in wanting soldiers to vacate from Syria, AP reported. POTUS added that Iraq could be used as a base to stage attacks on Daesh militants.
45 reportedly told journalists that, if needed, Washington could attack militants "so fast and so hard [that they] won't know what the hell happened." This visit marks the first time that Trump has visited a war zone since becoming president — a move which he was previously criticized for failing to do.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) December 26, 2018
"I think a lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking," Trump, speaking on his decision to remove troops from Syria, told reporters at the base. "It's time for us to start using our head."
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) December 26, 2018
Donald Trump also said during his unannounced visit that the United States cannot remain the world’s policeman.
"The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world," Trump said. "It’s not fair when the burden is all on us, the United States."
Trump explained that other countries should and have expressed willingness to contribute to defeating terror groups such as the Islamic State.
"In Syria, [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan said he wants to knock out ISIS [Daesh*], whatever’s left, the remnants of ISIS. And Saudi Arabia just came out and said they are going to pay for some economic development. Which is great, that means we do not have to pay," Trump said.
"We are spread out all over the world. We are in countries most people have not even heard about. Frankly, it’s ridiculous," Trump said.
WikiLeaks previously sounded off on the Wednesday visit, sharing an image with a caption that read, "Is Trump on a surprise visit to Afghanistan? Turkey? Flight trackers show that one of two planes used for Air Force One (92-9000/VC-25) using what appears to be a fake HEXCODE of AW47C4, departed Andrews Air Force base at midnight."
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 26, 2018
Trump is also expected to visit US service members stationed at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany on his flight back to the US.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia