President Trump and First Lady Melania secretly left Washington on Christmas night and visited Iraq on Wednesday to deliver holiday greetings to United States combat troops. The First Couple were on their way back from an army base in Iraq when they stopped to refuel and meet service members carrying MAGA hats who had waited up until 4am local time.
President Donald Trump used a lightning visit to Iraq - his first with U.S. troops in a conflict zone since being elected - to defend the withdrawal from Syria and to declare an end to America's role as the global "policeman".
Abdul-Mahdi's office said in a statement after Trump's visit that "differences in points of view" over arrangements led to a face-to-face meeting between the two leaders being scrapped. "We've knocked them silly".
One Iraqi resident, named Mohammad Abdullah, also showed his disdain for the president's visit, saying, "We won't get anything from America".
Iraq and the US have reduced the territory held by ISIS to nearly nothing, but sporadic violence continues and there remains the possibility ISIS members will melt into an insurgency.
He defended his decision to withdraw from Syria, saying "The United States can not continue to be the policeman of the world". The unannounced journey took place just days after announcing that he planned to remove US troops from Syria and saw his own defense secretary resign in response.
The hats and the MAGA slogan are symbols of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
"Can we find out why Melania got off Marine One with no shoes, no trousers and huge weird sunglasses", one person asked on Twitter.
Trump said on December 26 that he has no plans to reduce that number.
First up during the unscheduled visit, Melania broke first lady precedent by travelling to an active combat zone where she posed for pictures with troops and military members while wearing a suede mustard belted blouse with dark green pants.
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Supporters of the populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr won big in national elections in May, campaigning on a platform of curbing both US and rival Iranian involvement in Iraqi affairs.
USA soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division fire artillery in support of Iraqi forces fighting Islamic State militants from their base east of Mosul, Iraq, April 17, 2017.
Trump's decision to go to Iraq the day after Christmas is part of an attempt to change the narrative after being slammed for his reversal of Syrian policy and accusations that he made the decision without consulting the Pentagon or State Department.
"If anything should happen at all, nobody will ever have suffered the consequences they had suffered", Trump said.
"Dealing with Iraq and its sovereignty in this way will harm Iraqi-US relations", he said.
Mr Trump wants $5billion (£3.95bn) in funding for the wall but the Democrats have said no. "We won", Trump said in a video message on Twitter.
It is a good thing that Trump was ultimately guilted into visiting the troops putting their lives on the line for our country and our freedoms.
Despite his order for a withdrawal of USA forces from Syria, the president made it clear that he is not abandoning the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Syria and Iraq.
"If you had seen what we had to go through with the darkened plane, with all windows closed, with no lights on whatsoever anywhere".
President George W. Bush made multiple visits to Iraq through which he gained a deeper understanding of the challenges we faced there.