Last month, President Trump was asked why he hasn’t visited a military base in a combat zone. He offered two explanations. He’s “very busy” at home, he said, and he doesn’t “think it’s overly necessary.”
Last week, the New York Times reported on a third excuse. Trump, aides told the Times, does not believe American troops should be in Afghanistan or Iraq and he fears a visit to the countries “would validate missions he does not truly believe in.”
On Monday, the Washington Post provided a fourth reason why Trump, who calls himself the most pro-military president ever, hasn’t set foot in a war zone: He’s afraid.
Trump has spoken privately about his fears over risks to his own life, according to a former senior White House official, who has discussed the issue with the president and spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly about Trump’s concerns.
“He’s never been interested in going,” the official said of Trump visiting troops in a combat zone, citing conversations with the president. “He’s afraid of those situations. He’s afraid people want to kill him.”
Trump’s refusal to visit the troops is coming under increased scrutiny this week, in part because bad weather (and concerns about bad hair) caused him to skip a trip to a cemetery in France to mark the end of WWI and in part because of his recent attacks on retired admiral William H. McRaven.
But it’s also in the news because Thanksgiving is a few days away. George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush all spent at least one Thanksgiving overseas with the troops. Trump is choosing instead to spend the holiday with the wealthy members of his exclusive Florida club Mar-a-Lago.