Notorious for leaks and chastened by using preceding protection lapses, the White House went to unusual lengths to keep President Donald Trump’s Thanksgiving time out to Afghanistan below wraps, devising a cowl story for his movements that protected posting scripted tweets whilst he was once in the air, administration officials said.
On Thursday, Trump dropped in unannounced on troops at Afghanistan’s Bagram military air base in his first outing to the united states and only his 2nd to a conflict region in the course of his presidency. He served soldiers a turkey dinner and posed for selfies, before telling reporters that the United States and Taliban hoped to resume peace talks.
Perhaps the most stunning issue of the 33-hour roundtrip, which White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham stated had been weeks in the making, used to be the administration’s success in maintaining it secret till rapidly before the president left Afghanistan to return home.
Frequently wrong-footed with the aid of leaks and Trump’s freewheeling use of Twitter, the White House informed solely a tight circle of officers about the trip.
On Tuesday, Trump travelled to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida as scheduled, accompanied with the aid of the ordinary caravan of reporters which follows the president on all trips.
When these journalists waited for him to emerge for a Thursday afternoon convention call with the troops, per his legit schedule, they learnt that in a single day he had flown the 13,400 km (8,331 miles) to Afghanistan to visit them in person.
“It is a hazardous region and he desires to aid the troops,” Grisham informed a small crew of correspondents aboard Air Force One on Wednesday evening, explaining why the White House had hid Trump’s actual movements.
Only hours before, that 2nd crew of reporters had secretly gathered at a parking lot near the Joint Base Andrews outdoor Washington, a normal departure spot for Trump, from which they had been pushed in minivans into the complex.
They had been told ahead of time that Trump would be travelling incognito to an undisclosed location.
Once inside the base, all clever telephones and any gadgets that should ship a sign were confiscated and not lower back until at least two hours after Trump’s arrival at Bagram, the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan.
Throughout the 13-hour flight, no one on board Air Force One had access to their phones, which includes White House staff, Grisham said. The cabin lights have been usually switched off and window blinds stayed shut.
Last Christmas, en route to a troop visit in Iraq, Air Force One was once recognized above England with the aid of a airplane spotter who tweeted a photo of its unique turquoise livery, sparking a social media storm. Many speculated then that Trump used to be on his way to a struggle zone, pointing to his surprisingly quiet Twitter account, which had sent dozens of tweets the day before.
This time, Grisham said the White House made preparations to make sure continuity in the president’s Twitter account, which posted pleased Thanksgiving tweets as he was once in the air, which include one thanking the military.
“We just had a nice Thanksgiving dinner,” Trump stated amid chants of “U-S-A” during his speech at the Bagram base.
“I concept I was once going to be doing it someplace else.”