President Trump on Thursday used a gratitude message to American troops overseas to take credit for a “win” in Afghanistan and to “give thanks to God” for freedom.
The unusual Thanksgiving message was delivered by Trump from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida over an internet connection to military men and women stationed near Kabul.
“I have to say just directly to the folks in Afghanistan: Everybody’s talking about the progress you’ve made in the last few months since I opened it up,” Trump said, according to pool reports.
“We opened it up. We said, ‘Go ahead; we’re going to fight to win.’ We’re not fighting anymore to just walk around. We’re fighting to win, and you people are really, you’ve turned it around over the last three to four months like nobody’s seen. And they are talking about it. So thank you very much.
“Brave, incredible fighters.”
Trump and First Lady Melania Trump also made a trip to a nearby Coast Guard station in Riviera Beach, Fla., where they delivered lunch to men and women on duty for the holidays.
During his remarks there, Trump singled out the service for its hurricane relief efforts during Harvey and the other storms that battered the country this year.
“There’s no brand that went up more than the Coast Guard,” Trump told them. “What a job you’ve done.”
Trump praised the superiority of U.S. military equipment, too, yet said he tries to make sure that equipment the United States sells abroad — even to allies — is not quite as good as that kept at home.
“I always say, make ours a little bit better,” Trump said. “Keep about 10% in the bag.” He added: “You never know about an ally. An ally can turn.”
Earlier via Twitter, Trump spoke of what he sees as his accomplishments in office: “Jobs coming back, highest Stock Market EVER, Military getting really strong, we will build the WALL”
The last was a reference to a barrier Trump wants to build along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
Trump also listed some of those agenda items during a pre-recorded Thanksgiving message addressed to members of the American public, which he shared Thursday via Twitter.
Later in the evening, Trump tweeted praise for reported confidant and Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Trump also applauded YouTube personalities Diamond and Silk, who often defend the president in social media postings.
The president did depart from his gracious tone at one point on Thursday, when he called the nation’s healthcare law “a disaster” and blamed Democrats for holding up the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Trump pledged that the GOP will again try to roll back the healthcare law after attempting to pass tax reform legislation, which he hopes to have done by Christmas.