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President Trump recently gave some more details on his clandestine flight into Iraq, and revealed it was more wild than most would have imagined!
From our friends over at MAGAvoter:
Later, Trump described the event, which was shrouded in mystery, including flying into the country on a “blacked out” airplane, as well as his concern for those traveling with him, as well as for “the institution of the Presidency.”
“Not for myself, personally, I had concerns for the First Lady,” said Trump, who went on to say he’d never experienced such security measures in his time as president.
“I’ve been on many airplanes, all types and shapes and sizes,” said Trump, adding, “I’ve never seen anything like” the security measures put in place for his visit.
“Did I have a concern?” asked Trump, “Yeah, I had a concern, but my biggest concern was the people who were with me.”
The Daily Wire had even more details:
President Trump was going ... somewhere. "No one told us where we were going," Bennett said.
Bennett knew he was next on the list for foreign trips, which is kept by the White House Correspondents' Association. For some presidential trips, especially secret outings, only a "pool" of reporters are included — a TV network, a radio outlet, the three wire agencies (Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg), some photographers and a print reporter. The reporters send out "pool reports" to other journalists, who can then freely use all the information in their own articles.
And Bennett said he wasn't completely surprised, saying he "sensed that something may have been up and was prepared mentally that the president might want to go on a trip to a combat zone during the holiday."
He was right. Still, before he left home, Bennett told his wife: "I don't when I'll be back."
The White House email told Bennett where to go at JBA — a different gate than usual. He took a car service to the base, but it "took me a while to find the gate" in the dark. When he got to the right spot, "the only thing lighting the parking lot was headlights and a few overhead lamps, maybe not even that."
Other reporters were gathered there, too, awaiting word. No one was sure where they were going, but Bennett said "some of the reporters were told we'd be back in a day or a day and a half, so it seemed likely that we were going to Iraq." He said he "packed a bag small enough to put in the plane seat in front of me."
They were, though, told that the dress code was "casual and we were told to prepare to stand outside in 40 to 50 degree weather."
The pool was loaded into vans — first, they had "to give up all electronics" — and taken into a "pristine, brightly lit hangar where Air Force One was parked."
"Trump left the White House late on Dec. 25 for an unannounced movement to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland," Bennett wrote in a pool report — which he could not send until the White House lifted an embargo. "Pool was prepositioned on the plane and did not see Trump board. Air Force One was wheels up at 12:06 am ET on Dec. 26. POTUS landed at 11:16 am ET/ 7:16 pm local time at Al Asad Air Base, a joint U.S.-Iraqi military base west of Baghdad."
(A quick aside: S.V. Dáte, the senior White House correspondent for HuffPost, was the "intown" pool reporter. Just before 10 a.m., while Trump was still flying to Iraq, Date put out a pool report that said: "The White House has not issued any daily guidance for today, but the press office did issue a lunch lid until 1 p.m." No one knew at this point that Trump was headed to Iraq.)
"Shortly after Air Force on took off from Andrews Air Force base bound for Iraq, Melania Trump came to the press cabin and briefly talked off the record to convey seasons greetings to reporters and say hello," Bennett also wrote.
The Time reporter said he grabbed four hours of sleep on the 11-hour flight. What followed was a frenetic three-hours on the ground in Iraq. And the landing was interesting, too.
"For the landing, all the windows were closed and all the lights were off," Bennett said. When they got out of the presidential plane, there were still no lights. "It was the first time I'd ever seen Air Force One in the dark, no lights, just the silhouette."
"POTUS and FLOTUS entered a large tan hangar at 1:56 pm ET / 9:56 pm local time. Hundreds of troops in uniform cheered. Melania took to the microphone said gave the troops and their families holiday and new year greetings. 'I’m very proud of you,' she said," he wrote in his first pool report.
"The hall was decorated for Christmas with bells, foil balls, twinkling red green and blue colored lights, the tables were covered in red and green table cloths. There were snowmen made of stacked tires painted white and Christmas trees fashioned from cut two by fours," Bennett wrote.
While in Iraq, Trump met with U.S. military leaders and spoke to troops. A scheduled in-person meeting with Iraq’s prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi had to be changed to a phone call as he was in a different part of the country. And Trump delivered remarks to a group of about 100 mostly U.S. special operations troops engaged in combat operations in Iraq and Syria.
Bennett was not allowed to file until the embargo was lifted just before wheels up from Iraq, after Trump's speech. In every reporter's nightmare, Bennett said it was "logistically very difficult to file" because the wifi didn't work well.
Read the full story here.
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