Just like every other person at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump was seen chilling out in his resort, updating some sensitive tweets, then later on a white house report for his evening. However, this Wednesday being Thanksgiving eve seemed different. The end saw Trump flee Mar-a-Lago without the normal presidential escort parade. He hopped on a military vehicle to Washington for a 13-hour Air Force One flight to Afghanistan(the heart of America’s longest war).
This trip was abnormally clouded in concealment, even for a presidential visit to a war-zone. It appeared in a made-for-TV drama with a military show Trump enjoys: the US Commander-in-chief with Afghanistan chanting troops, in less than a year from the next election. It was indeed a celebration for America’s troops, for this carefully planned visit without disclosure, especially for a president who seemed to be at war with his home military leaders. Trump made a sham after serving turkey in a lunchroom on Thanksgiving eve “it’s a long flight, but we love it”.
This marked Trump’s first visit to Afghanistan, and his second visit to a combat area. An unsafe region that nurtures the September 11th terrorist attack leaders. Trump gave a clue about his trip for weeks now after much criticism last year for not meeting with troops abroad. When asked if he was scared to visit, he would react with suspicion in his words “I’m going to a war zone”. A Boeing VC-25A was tracked by a British Aircraft watcher flying over Europe. It’s a modified version that serves as Air Force One, no one was astonished though.
Trump never made a public statement, neither to his wife or family concerning his confidential visit to Afghanistan this year. His Twitter account was being updated to avoid questions from observers. 12 of the 13 journalists who traveled with Trump, hopped on from a roof of a parking garage outside Washington with no idea of their destination, all gadgets of everyone on Air Force One flight were turned off, including that of Mr president. It took off from an unrevealed airport at 7 pm. The 13th journalist in a report portrayed it as “bare-bones except for the blue leather chairs and fancy toilet”. Trump hailed the plane crew and went for the cockpit.
The Air Force One Trump took a day earlier to Florida was parked at Palm Beach International Airport, sort of a decoy because there is a hidden plane also used as Air Force One inside a cave hangar at Joint Base Andrews, allowing Trump to board without public notice. They left after 10 pm to Bagram Air Field.
It was 2hours before arrival that they got to know of their destination from the white house press secretary Stephanie Grisham. “it’s a dangerous area and he wants to support the troops” she said. He feels good and excited she also said.
The plane landed at 8 pm local time, with interior lights off for safety purposes. It was dark and serene, in a stinky base. With a 15-vehicle convoy and armed troop, Trump hauled the base. The journalists weren’t allowed to report on the journey, they watched Trump for 3 hours deliver his remarks. For the first time, Trump never mentioned his home challenges, Democrat’s impeachment threats, and his differences with military leaders. He boasted about his achievements and praised the troops as they rallied in loud cheers of God Bless the USA!
The Afghanistan president also had a meet and greet with Trump in the base, and declared the renewal of peace dialogue with the Taliban. He praised his efforts in destroying the major terrorist groups and thanked his family for letting him be with them to defend USS and their freedom on that special day. He also rejected the possibilities of another September 11th attack.
Trump reminded them that war in Afghanistan won’t be decided on the battlefield but, through political means, and they’ll keep working hard towards achieving peace.
The 13-hour expedition and briefing came to an end with Trump yearning for his Thanksgiving meal he was missing out on, afterwards, they flew back to Mar-a-Lago for Thanksgiving.