President Donald Trump’s Christmas trip to visit the troops in Iraq was one of the rare moments that we saw him step up to the mantle of the presidency and play the role of commander in chief. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as smoothly as the White House communications team probably would have liked.
During his visit, Trump gave a speech to the troops before taking photos with them, and during that speech, he lied about giving the troops pay raises.
“You haven’t gotten [a pay raise] in more than 10 years — more than 10 years,” he told the men and women at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. “And we got you a big one.
“I said, ‘No. Make it 10 percent. Make it more than 10 percent,'” Trump added. “Because it’s been a long time. It’s been more than 10 years. It’s been more than 10 years. That’s a long time.”
Of course, that’s a blatant lie, and it’s one that he’s made before (so it’s already been fact-checked). The truth is that the military has received a pay raise every single year since 1983.
And the “10 percent” number that the president decided to throw around was also nonsense. In 2018, the military was given a 2.4 percent raise. That’s the largest bump since 2010, but it’s still a very long way from 10 percent.
Trump’s suggestion that he had to fight for the raises is also hardly truthful, since the National Defense Authorization Act, which dictates how much the troops will be paid, passed with bipartisan support. In 2019, the troops will see a 2.6 percent raise.
The president has trotted out this lie about pay raises before. In March, he told military families that he was handing out the first pay raise in a decade. That was false.
But like all of the other Trump half-truths, nonsense boasts, and outright lies, we’ll probably forget about this in a week, and those troops are sure to be disappointed when they realize that their commander in chief was lying to them about a big bump in their pay.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.