No phones, scripted tweets: How Trump’s Afghanistan trip was kept under wraps

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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Infamous for leaks and chastened by prior safety lapses, the White Household went to uncommon lengths to continue to keep President Donald Trump’s Thanksgiving journey to Afghanistan under wraps, devising a protect story for his movements that incorporated putting up scripted tweets when he was in the air, administration officials claimed.

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President Donald Trump eats dinner with U.S. troops at a Thanksgiving dinner occasion through a shock visit at Bagram Air Foundation in Afghanistan, November 28, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

On Thursday, Trump dropped in unannounced on troops at Afghanistan’s Bagram navy air foundation in his 1st excursion to the place and only his next to a war zone during his presidency. He served troopers a turkey meal and posed for selfies, prior to telling reporters that the United States and Taliban hoped to resume peace talks.

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Potentially the most astonishing facet of the 33-hour roundtrip, which White Household spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham mentioned experienced been weeks in the building, was the administration’s results in trying to keep it key until finally soon ahead of the president remaining Afghanistan to return dwelling.

Routinely completely wrong-footed by leaks and Trump’s freewheeling use of Twitter, the White Property informed only a tight circle of officials about the excursion.

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On Tuesday, Trump traveled to his Mar-a-Lago vacation resort in Florida as scheduled, accompanied by the regular caravan of reporters which follows the president on all excursions.

When those journalists waited for him to arise for a Thursday afternoon convention get in touch with with the troops, for every his official routine, they learnt that right away he had flown the thirteen,400 km (8,331 miles) to Afghanistan to visit them in man or woman.

“It is a hazardous spot and he would like to assistance the troops,” Grisham explained to a tiny group of correspondents aboard Air Power Just one on Wednesday evening, explaining why the White House experienced concealed Trump’s genuine movements.

Only hours just before, that 2nd group of reporters had secretly gathered at a parking great deal in close proximity to the Joint Foundation Andrews outside the house Washington, a normal departure place for Trump, from which they were being pushed in minivans into the sophisticated.

They had been explained to ahead of time that Trump would be traveling incognito to an undisclosed locale.

Once inside the foundation, all smart phones and any units that could send out a sign were confiscated and not returned until finally at the very least two hrs right after Trump’s arrival at Bagram, the greatest U.S. base in Afghanistan.

Through the 13-hour flight, no person on board Air Power A person experienced access to their telephones, which includes White Home workers, Grisham stated. The cabin lights ended up largely switched off and window blinds stayed shut.

Last Christmas, en route to a troop check out in Iraq, Air Power A single was identified previously mentioned England by a aircraft spotter who tweeted a photograph of its distinctive turquoise livery, sparking a social media storm. Several speculated then that Trump was on his way to a war zone, pointing to his unusually tranquil Twitter account, which had despatched dozens of tweets the day prior to.

This time, Grisham claimed the White Home made arrangements to be certain continuity in the president’s Twitter account, which posted joyful Thanksgiving tweets as he was in the air, together with 1 thanking the armed forces.

“We just had a wonderful Thanksgiving evening meal,” Trump claimed amid chants of “U-S-A” throughout his speech at the Bagram foundation.

“I assumed I was going to be undertaking it someplace else.”

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk Modifying by Michelle Value and Daniel Wallis

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