UPDATE, 7:48 p.m. CST: The Air Force issued a statement saying those who brought MAGA hats to be signed did not violate any rules.
"There is no rule against Airmen bringing personal items to be signed by the president," USAFE said in a statement.
After President Donald Trump visited troops in Iraq on Wednesday, CNN reported that troops who had Trump sign "Make America Great Again" hats violated Department of Defense rules regarding political activities.
Trump responded Thursday, implying that he would have gotten attacked whether he signed the hats or whether he refused to sign them.
"CNN & others within the Fake News Universe were going wild about my signing MAGA hats for our military in Iraq and Germany," Trump tweeted. "If these brave young people ask me to sign their hat, I will sign. Can you imagine my saying NO? We brought or gave NO hats as the Fake News first reported!"
CNN & others within the Fake News Universe were going wild about my signing MAGA hats for our military in Iraq and… https://t.co/N1VCojCzUI— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1545953016.0
The rule in question: "...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."
Although CNN's report cited a former Obama administration official accusing Trump of politicizing the visit, the network acknowledged that the hats were not brought by Trump, but rather brought by individual service members in attendance.
"A US military official told CNN the MAGA hats that Trump signed at the Ramstein Air Base event in Germany were personal and brought there by military personnel in hopes of getting an autograph," CNN reported. "The official contended that it was not a campaign event and that the hats were used as support for Trump, not as a statement of political support."
Press secretary Sarah Sanders called out CNN for its angle on the story on Twitter.
"CNN will attack anyone who supports President Trump, including the brave men and women of our military who fight everyday to protect our freedom," she wrote.
CNN will attack anyone who supports President Trump, including the brave men and women of our military who fight ev… https://t.co/9zRFWkCje5— Sarah Sanders (@Sarah Sanders) 1545935050.0