President Donald Trump has begun telling advisers that he may visit troops in a combat zone for the first time in his presidency, as he has come under increasing scrutiny for his treatment of military affairs and failure to visit service members deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq.
The President has often cast himself as a champion of the Pentagon, invoking the strength and size of the military at his campaign rallies and on Twitter. At the same time, he has frequently criticised US military missions and decisions while personally attacking some former military leaders, contributing to a complicated relationship with the armed forces he commands.
Although he signed off on Defence Secretary Jim Mattis’ requests to bolster the American military presence in Afghanistan and Syria and retain the footprint in Iraq, Trump isn’t a fan of US military operations there.
The President has come under increasing scrutiny for his behaviour toward the military in recent weeks. He attacked the former head of US Special Operations Command, retired admiral William McRaven, who said Trump represented the greatest threat to US democracy.