On Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump visited the wounded service members being treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. White House chief of staff John Kelly accompanied him on the visit.During the trip, Trump spoke with the military members there, but there was one moment that stood out for White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Calling it “one of the most powerful moments” of her life, Sanders witnessed Trump award a wounded service member with the Purple Heart, the medal reserved for those injured in combat.
“Amazed by the strength and resilience of the men and women in our Armed Forces,” she added.
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@Scavino45) December 21, 2017
Trump is not the only member of his administration to visit troops in preparation for the Christmas season. Vice President Mike Pence visited and gave a speech to troops deployed in Afghanistan. “Give yourselves a round of applause. We couldn’t be more proud of every one of you,” he told them.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis is also on a trip visiting service members across the United States. He first stop was to talk with troops stationed at U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis left Washington, D.C., and did not tell the majority of the press that he had left, much less where he was going. It turns out he is currently on a trip visiting service members during the Christmas season.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Mattis will visit Camp Lejeune, Ft. Bragg, and the Mayport naval base. He is accompanied by one AP reporter. Pentagon Press Secretary Dana White did not say why the trip wasn’t announced.
Mattis has already visited the troops stationed at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The AP reports he was only there to meet with service members and did not tour the detention facilities or discuss detainee policy.He is the first defense secretary to visit the base since 2002, when then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld toured the facility shortly after the first detainees arrived.
Mattis is known for being around the troops during the holidays, including the now-famous story of when he replaced a married major who was scheduled to be on guard duty on Christmas day. Because Mattis is not married, he took his place so the major could be with his family.
Telling then Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak, who found him pulling duty: “Sir, I looked at the duty roster for today and there was a young major who had it who is married and had a family; and so I’m a bachelor, I thought why should the major miss out on the fun of having Christmas with his family, and so I took the duty for him.”