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Newsweek said Trump would spend Thanksgiving golfing. He was on his way to Afghanistan.

The White House kept the trip to visit the troops a secret

OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

A Newsweek reporter tweeted on Thursday morning that President Trump was spending Thanksgiving engaged in leisure.

"How is Trump spending Thanksgiving? Tweeting, golfing and more," wrote Jessica Kwong with a link to an article she wrote speculating about Trump's activities for the day.

"As with any other day of the year, Trump will probably be tweeting, or expressing his opinions in another way. On Thanksgiving Eve, Trump tweeted an image of his head on the body of Rocky Balboa, the fictional boxer portrayed by actor Sylvester Stallone in numerous movies," wrote Kwong in her story.

Except the president of the United States was on his way to make a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, prompting criticism of the publication by conservatives.

"He's literally in Afghanistan with the troops. Delete this tweet and your article," wrote commentator Charlie Kirk on Twitter.

Newsweek updated its story five hours later, noting "Following the publication of this article, the president made a surprise, unannounced visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving."

Trump surprises troops in Afghanistan

Trump's unannounced Thanksgiving visit was the president's first to that nation, according to the New York Times.

As Yahoo reported:

Traveling with Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming and a small clutch of aides, including his acting chief of staff, press secretary and national security adviser, Trump appeared in good spirits as he was escorted around the base by heavily armed soldiers, as the smell of burning fuel and garbage wafted through the chilly air. Unlike last year's post-Christmas visit to Iraq, first lady Melania Trump did not make the trip.

Trump's first stop was a dining hall, where he plated turkey and sat down for a meal. But he said he only tasted the mashed potatoes before he was pulled away for photos.

"I never got the turkey," he told the troops. "A gorgeous piece of turkey."

White House kept it a secret

The news outlet also noted that the White House went through great lengths to keep the trip a secret, including confiscating cellphones for the duration of the trip on Air Force One and programming Thanksgiving-themed tweets in advance from the president's account to avoid suspicion.

A small group of reporters was told to meet Wednesday night on the top floor of a parking garage and was transported in black vans to Andrews Air Force Base. Meanwhile, the president was secretly flying back from Florida, where reporters had been told he'd be spending Thanksgiving at his Mar-a-Lago club.

The plane he'd flown to Florida — the modified 747 painted in the iconic white and blue of Air Force One — remained parked on the tarmac at West Palm Beach Airport to avoid revealing the president's movement.

About 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, the president boarded a nearly identical plane concealed in a hangar at Andrews Air Force Base, taking off and landing under the cover of darkness, with cabin lights dimmed and window shutters drawn.
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