CNN Decries U.S. Troops in Iraq Who Had Their MAGA Hats Signed by Trump

During President Trump’s surprise visit to Al Asad Airbase in Iraq to celebrate Christmas with the U.S. troops there, he rubbed shoulders with America’s finest as he took selfies and signed autographs for them. Some of those autographs were signed on the iconic “Make America Great Again” hats that some soldiers reportedly brought to him. For any other president it would be treated a fun and warm moment, but not for this one and not if CNN had anything to say about it.

During Wednesday’s edition of The Situation Room, fill-in host and chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, seemingly under the assumption Trump was handing out the hats, wanted Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr to tear into the President for turning the trip into a “campaign stop.”

Is that unusual, to see the President doing that on base? Does this run the risk of the President, you know, facing some accusations that he's turning some of this into a campaign stop? What do you think,” he asked.

Starr informed Acosta that reports said it was the troops who showed up with the hats (apparently that was a thought that hadn’t occurred to Acosta). “We will have to see if that actually proves to be the case. The question is, if they brought them or if the President brought them; what commander allowed that to really happen,” Starr continued in a huff.

Seemingly eager to tattle on those brave soldiers, Starr wasn’t very happy they were carrying Trump campaign material:

 

 

Because this is very much against military policy and regulation. Troops are not supposed to be involved in political activities. The U.S. military is not a political force. And there's no question, the saying "Trump 2020" and "Make America Great Again," those are political slogans of a Trump campaign they are not governmental sayings, to say the least.

Appearing to sympathize with the troops since Trump may not have been behind the hats, Acosta turned to former Rear Admiral and former Obama official John Kirby to ask if this was just something more innocent. “And John, I mean, what would the concern be if something like that is going on, do you think? Or is this just, you know, a soldier is there, he's got a hat in his locker, and he runs over and says, ‘hey, when am I going to have another chance for the President to sign one of these things,’” he wondered.

“It is, in fact, a campaign slogan, that is a campaign item, and it's completely inappropriate for the troops to do this,” Kirby sternly declared. “Not supposed to do this. And I'm sure their boss is seeing that. They're not going to be happy about it.”

Clearly irritated by the hat signings and looking to blow it out of proportion, Kirby then demanded that “the President has to take some ownership of this.” “Every time he's around military audiences, he tends to politicize it, and he brings in complaints and grievances from outside the realm of military policy. This was wrong for him to do it, as well,” he complained.

If it were troops handing “Yes We Can” items to Obama for him to sign, CNN would either be touting it or not talking about it because it would be fine and a given that the President had their support. But not for this President. This is CNN.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN’s The Situation Room
December 26, 2018
5:08:44 p.m. Eastern

JIM ACOSTA: And Barbara, we saw the President signing a campaign hat, a red hat, his “Make America Great Again hat. Is that unusual, to see the president doing that on base? Does this run the risk of the President, you know, facing some accusations that he's turning some of this into a campaign stop? What do you think?

BARBARA STARR: Well, you know, this is very interesting. The pool reporters traveling said that the troops brought the hats with them, including one hat that said "Trump 2020." We will have to see if that actually proves to be the case. The question is, if they brought them or if the President brought them; what commander allowed that to really happen? Because this is very much against military policy and regulation. Troops are not supposed to be involved in political activities. The U.S. military is not a political force. And there's no question, the saying "Trump 2020" and "Make America Great Again," those are political slogans of a Trump campaign they are not governmental sayings, to say the least.

ACOSTA: Right. And John, I mean, what would the concern be if something like that is going on, do you think? Or is this just, you know, a soldier is there, he's got a hat in his locker and he runs over and says, hey, when am I going to have another chance for the President to sign one of these things?

JOHN KIRBY: Well look, it kind of blurs the line, because Trump is his slogan, and where is that line? But Barb’s right. It is, in fact, a campaign slogan, that is a campaign item, and it's completely inappropriate for the troops to do this.

ACOSTA: Not supposed to do it.

KIRBY: Not supposed to do this. And I'm sure their boss is seeing that. They're not going to be happy about it. But look, the President has to take some ownership of this, too. Every time he's around military audiences, he tends to politicize it, and he brings in complaints and grievances from outside the realm of military policy. This was wrong for him to do it, as well. I'm going to be really interested to see, Jim, when we get video of his comments to the troops, his actual speech in Al Asad [Airbase], and I hope he didn't politicize those sets of remarks, but we have to wait and see.

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