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Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, urged President Trump to visit U.S. troops in combat zones in a statement on Wednesday.
The big picture: Trump has said visiting troops isn't "overly necessary," despite the fact his predecessors made a number of trips to combat zones, like Afghanistan and Iraq. Reed said in his statement that "every prior President found time to visit our troops in active combat theaters," and that Trump has "a duty to let them know that America is grateful for their service." Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Wednesday that he's advised Trump against visiting "places ... I don't want him to go at certain times."
“It would be good for President Trump and the nation if he started leading by example and doing more to honor our veterans and troops serving in harm’s way. The President has many scheduling demands, but every prior President found time to visit our troops in active combat theaters. Many regularly went to Dover Air Force Base to honor the return of fallen warriors. It’s time for President Trump to step up and recognize that our troops put their lives on the line every day with unrelenting devotion to our country.
I encourage President Trump to talk to the men and women serving on the frontlines, look them in the eye, and listen to what they have to say. As Commander-in-Chief, President Trump has committed these brave men and women to combat, and they are sacrificing and doing their best every day to carry out the mission.
Our troops look like America and represent the very best of our country. They come from every community, every race and religion, and have diverse views. But what unites them all is a sense of patriotism and professionalism. President Trump has a duty to let them know that America is grateful for their service.
I strongly urge President Trump to start showing our troops the respect they deserve. They chose to serve and he must choose to lead.”