After shaking off criticism for not visiting American service members at Christmas time by traveling to meet troops in Iraq unannounced on Christmas night, President Donald Trump then took heat for signing military members’ “Make America Great Again” hats while taking a pit stop at a base in Germany.
Some airmen got selfies with both Pres and Mrs Trump, or got him to sign their MAGA caps. pic.twitter.com/vQG1EVFrta
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) December 27, 2018
Many had issues with the president signing the hats, with some calling it “inappropriate” and “against military policy and regulation” — even though the hats are actually personal belongings, not campaign items, as the troops brought them themselves.
President Trump’s actions in shaking hands and autographing items for the troops is comparable to when former President Barack Obama was in office and took time to sign items for service members, such as photos of himself. At the time, he did not receive widespread backlash.
Check out the photos of Obama below, as noted by some Twitter users:
— VP FAN (@MikePenceVP) December 27, 2018
Criminal media complex fake news bust – again.
Behold, Barack Obama hugged by US troops and later signing autographs for them.#MAGA @realDonaldTrump @PressSec @DonaldJTrumpJr @kimguilfoyle @EricTrump @LouDobbs @SebGorka #MAGA ?? pic.twitter.com/0uOpgcCpo2
— JointheNRA NOW! ?? (@CarmineZozzora) December 28, 2018
Below is a picture of Obama signing a troops hat
Since becoming President, Donald Trump has certainly exposed the Blatant Double Standards pic.twitter.com/x6Uspr6Jyf
— Nadia Salvino ?? (@Nadiasalvino) December 28, 2018
President Trump’s visit to American service members at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq on Wednesday was his first visit as president to an active combat zone. He then made a pit stop at the Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany on his way back to the States to meet troops stationed there.
After getting flak, the president defended signing service members’ MAGA hats when he wrote on Twitter: “If these brave young people ask me to sign their hat, I will sign.”
Several lawyers also thought the president didn’t deserve the criticism, as they agreed President Trump did nothing wrong, IJR Red reported.
Even the U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) said in a statement that “there is no rule against Airmen bringing personal items to be signed by the president.”
“Any time the commander in chief offers the opportunity to meet with Airmen, such as this official holiday visit by the President and First Lady, Airmen are welcome to participate,” USAFE continued. “No policy violations have been brought to our attention at this time.”
When it comes down to it, it seems President Trump is going to continue to be criticized whether he goes or doesn’t go visit service members.