Vice President Mike Pence Surprises Troops in Iraq for Thanksgiving

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence, second from left, serve turkey to troops at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. The visit is Pence’s first to Iraq and comes nearly one year since President Donald Trump’s surprise visit to the country. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, made a Saturday morning surprise visit to troops based in Iraq.

To keep the trip a secret, the Pences flew in a C-17 military cargo jet and landed in Erbil for a meeting with Iraqi Kurdistan President Nechirvan Barzani, according to Fox News.

“The visit was meant to reassure the U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State after Syrian Kurds suffered under a bloody Turkish assault last month following the Trump-ordered withdrawal,” the report said.

Saturday morning, the vice president tweeted photos that he and his wife took with military members at the Al Asad Air Force Base:

While at the base, Pence spoke on the phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi and told him the reason for his trip was to “extend gratitude to the men and women (of the US military) serving in your country,” WTKR reported.

At an early Thanksgiving luncheon, the vice president and his wife served the troops traditional fare and thanked them for their service.

“The President and your Vice President and the American people are behind you 100 percent,” he said during remarks given to about 150 servicemembers in a hangar, adding, “While you come from the rest of us, you’re the best of us.”

Speaking with reporters following the event, Pence reassured the Kurds of America’s support after President Trump said in October that he would pull 1,000 troops from the Turkish border with Syria, according to NBC News.

“My sense is that now with our troops in the region and in the air that Kurdish forces, Syrian Democratic Forces as well as the Kurdish population here in the region that the American people are with them,” the vice president said, adding, “These are allies that fought shoulder to shoulder with us bravely to defeat ISIS.”

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