Mr Trump told his audience in Iraq that the decision to withdraw the roughly 2,000 troops from Syria illustrated his quest to put "America first".
Donald Trump's unannounced Christmas visit to USA troops in Iraq succeeded as a morale-boosting exercise, judging from the standing ovation the president got.
During a speech to troops at Al Asad base, he said that unlike in Syria, he had no plans to bring home the roughly 5,000 troops stationed in Iraq.
U.S. 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.
Once it was public, other internet sleuths combed through publicly available airplane data and determined that the plane was Air Force One and Mr Trump was on his way to the Middle East, leaving the White House to announce the trip earlier than planned.
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President Trump was due to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi during the trip but the talks were cancelled over what Mr Mahdi's office called "disagreements" over organisation. It is not immediately clear why. "The United States can not continue to be the policeman of the world", he repeated to reporters, describing a long-term vision of detached isolationism embodied by his controversial decision last week to pull thousands of USA troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
According to Trump, the flight into Iraq was unlike anything he´d previously experienced.
U.S. troops are stationed in Iraq as part of the coalition against the Islamic State terror group.
"We express our rejection to the way that US President Donald Trump visited Iraq, which is not commensurate with diplomatic norms and relations with sovereign states", former prime minister and the current leader of Iraq's Victory Party, Haider al-Abadi, said in a statement.
"It's not fair when the burden is all on us", he said.
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Iraq's Sunni politicians have been largely quiet about the presidential visit, reflecting the ties they have cultivated with the U.S.to counterbalance the might of the country's Iran-backed and predominantly-Shiite militias. Let's go. Take more time.' Constantly giving them more time. Does anybody here? Is anybody here willing to give up the big pay raise you just got? "We've knocked them silly".
"We are spread out all over the world", the president said. This has been his narrative from the beginning, seeking to challenge the status quo and also to question U.S. commitments overseas and whether the United States is paying too much and doing too much for foreign countries.
Qais Khazali, the head of the Iran-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia that fought key battles against IS in northern Iraq, promised on Twitter that Parliament would vote to expel US forces from Iraq, or the militias would force them out by "other means".
The US military presence in Iraq also aids "Israel's desire to block the Tehran-Beirut route" and helps offset Iran's strengthening presence in the region, he said. Trump had come under intense criticism for not visiting U.S. troops fighting overseas, even though he speaks frequently about his support for the military.
President George W. Bush made multiple visits to Iraq through which he gained a deeper understanding of the challenges we faced there.
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"Trump´s disrespect of Iraq´s sovereignty will not go unpunished", it said, adding it would "not allow Iraq to be a base used to threaten other countries".