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Here's how media outlets managed to criticize Trump's visit to troops in Iraq


Trump visited troops in Iraq and Germany the day after Christmas

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump made his first visit to troops in a war zone Wednesday, providing a boost of morale and excitement for those stationed in Iraq and Germany over the holidays.

Still, some mainstream media outlets were able to find reason to criticize Trump during the visits, after having criticized him for months for not making such visits.

Against-the-rules autographs? During his visit in Iraq, Trump signed some autographs for the troops. Some of them brought Make America Great Again hats for the president to sign—which CNN reported may have been a violation of military rules.

CNN reported that Department of Defense guidelines say "active duty personnel may not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel should avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval, or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign, or cause."

A former Obama administration spokesman said on CNN that this was another example of Trump politicizing interactions with the military.

"Every time he's around military audiences, he tends to politicize it, and he brings in complaints and grievances from outside the realm of military policy," said retired Rear Adm. John Kirby.

A claim about military raises: While speaking with the troops, Trump brought up pay raises.

"You haven't gotten [a raise] in more than ten years," Trump said. "And we got you a big one. I got you a big one.

"You had plenty of people that came up and said, 'you know, we can make it smaller. We can make it three percent, we can make it two percent, we can make it four percent.' I said 'no. Make it ten percent. Make it more than ten percent.'"

While the 2018 pay raise (2.4 percent) was the largest since 2010, military members have received annual pay raises in all but one year since 1961, according to Politifact.

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