President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have made an unannounced Christmas visit at the al-Asad airbase in Iraq.
The first family traveled there “late on Christmas night” to thank troops for “their service, their success and their sacrifice”, the White House said.
President Trump said the US had no plans to pull out of Iraq, Reuters reports.
The trip came days after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis quit over divisions about strategy in the region.
The US still has some 5,000 troops in Iraq to support the government in its fight against what remains of the ISIS.
President Trump, the First Lady and National Security Adviser John Bolton traveled on Air Force One to al-Asad airbase, west of the capital Baghdad, to meet military personnel in the base’s restaurant.
The president spent about three hours at the base in what is his first visit to the region.
During the visit President Trump got a standing ovation from troops as he entered a dining hall and walked around greeting them, posing for selfies with them and signing autographs.
He tweeted: “.@FLOTUS Melania and I were honored to visit our incredible troops at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.!”
The president had planned to spend Christmas at his private golf club in Florida, but stayed behind in Washington because of the current partial government shutdown.
“We’re no longer the suckers, folks,” he told American servicemen and women at the base.
“We’re respected again as a nation.”
President Trump said the US could use Iraq as a forward base if “we wanted to do something in Syria”, Reuters news agency reports.
He defended his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria during the visit, saying: “A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking.
Another plane, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
It is believed hijackers were planning to aim that aircraft at the Congress or White House in Washington DC before it went down, killing all 40 people aboard.
Cockpit voice recordings of the hijackers and mobile phone calls from those aboard to loved ones indicate passengers tried to fight their way into the cockpit to regain control before the plotters nosedived the plane.
President Trump praised the passengers’ “incredible valor” and said their revolt was “the moment America fought back”.
He said: “A band of brave patriots turned the tide on our nation’s enemies and joined the immortal rank of American heroes.”
Donald Trump is the third sitting president to attend the crash site, 70 miles south-east of Pittsburgh.
Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, was among those who noted this is the first year that Americans born after the attacks will be old enough to enlist in the US military.
During remarks at the Pentagon, VP Mike Pence told audience members they “must learn the lessons of 9/11 and remain ever vigilant”.
The ceremony in New York was attended by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as former mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani.
Relatives of victims read out the names of the dead, and moments of silence were observed at 08:46 and 09:03 to mark the times when passenger jets struck the two skyscrapers.
In the years since the attacks, cancer cases in lower Manhattan – especially among first responders who dug through the toxic rubble – have increased.
The 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund has paid out $4 billion to fund medical expenses for survivors of the terror attacks.
According to the World Trade Center Health Program, nearly 10,000 of them have had some form of cancer.
Tens of thousands of people inhaled fumes in the days after the attack, and the number of patients coming forward with tumors has increased in recent years, according to the fund.
First Lady Melania Trump has backed LeBron James, hours after President Trump made insulting remarks about the NBA star on Twitter.
LeBron James had said in an interview that President Trump was divisive and had emboldened racists.
In response, Donald Trump questioned LeBronJames’ intelligence, saying it was not easy to make the NBA player “look smart”.
However, Melania Trump’s spokeswoman said LeBron James was “working to do good things” with a school in his Ohio hometown.
The spokeswoman said the first lady wanted “to have an open dialogue about issues facing children”.
Earlier this week, LeBron James told CNN during an interview with Don Lemon that sport had offered him the opportunity to meet people of different backgrounds and race.
He said: “Sports has never been something that divides people. It’s always been something that brings someone together.
“He [President Trump] is dividing us and what I noticed over the last few months is that he’s kinda used sport to divide us and that’s something I can’t relate to, because I know that sport was the first time I was ever around someone white.”
LeBron James also argued that President Trump’s actions had encouraged racists, saying: “I think [racism’s] always been there. But I think the president in charge now has given people – they don’t care now, they throw it to your face.”
On August 4, President Trump responded on Twitter by saying: “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”
The president also suggested that he prefers NBA legend Michael Jordan over the LA Lakers star.
His endorsement of Michael Jordan was perhaps a reference to the long-standing debate over whether Jordan or James is the better all-time player.
However, Michael Jordan also expressed support for LeBron James. He told media outlets through his spokesperson: “I support L.J. [LeBron James]. He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”
Donald Trump has taken a harsh stance on the ongoing debate over players in the National Football League (NFL) who refuse to stand for the national anthem in protest against racial injustice and police brutality.
The president has repeatedly said that anyone who kneels during the anthem should be fired.
Melania Trump, 48, is expected to spend the rest of the week recovering at the medical center, in Bethesda, Maryland.
President Trump tweeted that he was on his way to visit her: “Heading over to Walter Reed Medical Center to see our great First Lady, Melania. Successful procedure, she is in good spirits. Thank you to all of the well-wishers!”
According to specialists, embolization is most often used to block the blood supply to a tumor, benign or cancerous.
Last week, Melania Trump unveiled a “Be Best” initiative aimed at teaching children the importance of social, emotional and physical health.
The first lady said the campaign aimed to promote healthy living and to combat opioid abuse.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have decided not to attend the Kennedy Center Honors to allow those taking part “to celebrate without political distraction”, the White House announces.
Some of those due to take part in the arts awards ceremony had said they would boycott the White House reception held before the awards ceremony.
The Kennedy Center Honors recognize the lifetime contributions of performing artists.
Many artists have been angered by President Trump’s plans to scrap funding.
In his budget outline in March, the president pushed for the end of federal support for public broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Donald Trump is also mired in controversy over his response to recent violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Republicans and Democrats alike have criticized the president for insisting that anti-racism protesters were equally to blame for the violence that ended in the death of a woman.
The White House said in a statement: “The president and first lady have decided not to participate in this year’s [Kennedy Center Honors] activities to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.
“First Lady Melania Trump, along with her husband President Donald J Trump, extend their sincerest congratulations and well wishes to all of this year’s award recipients for their many accomplishments.”
Dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, who is due to be honored at the December ceremony, said earlier this week that she would boycott the related White House reception for honorees.
She said in a statement: “In light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our existing leadership is choosing to engage in, and in keeping with the principles that I and so many others have fought for, I will be declining the invitation to attend the reception at the White House.”
Lionel Richie had also suggested he might not attend, telling the NBC’s Today: “I’m not really happy with what’s going on right now with the controversies. They’re weekly, daily, hourly.”
TV producer Norman Lear, who is to receive a lifelong artistic achievement award, also said he would not attend the White House reception.
He said: “It is more important now than ever that we stand up for artists, for artistic expression, and for the valiant fight that artists fight to reveal the wonder and oneness of the human spirit.”
President Donald Trump has joined French President Emmanuel Macron the Bastille Day parade in Paris, where US and French troops marched together down the Champs-Élysées.
Donald Trump was guest of honor as the annual parade this time marked 100 years since the Americans entered World War One.
President Emmanuel Macron said “nothing will ever separate” France and the US, and President Trump’s presence showed “a friendship across the ages”.
Earlier Emmanuel Macron stood in a military jeep and inspected the troops.
He is now in Nice, attending a commemoration for last year’s Bastille Day terrorist attack, in which a Tunisian-born man drove a huge lorry into a celebrating crowd on the beachfront, killing 86 people.
Image source Wikimedia
At the start of the ceremony people were honored for their heroism on the night.
They included Franck Terrier, the man who drove his scooter alongside the speeding truck and jumped on to its cab, punching the driver through the window in a desperate attempt to force him to stop.
Franck Terrier was given a lengthy ovation and awarded the Légion d’honneur – France’s highest order of merit.
France remains under a state of emergency, following a spate of terror attacks by jihadists.
In Paris earlier, President Donald Trump and the First Lady warmly embraced their French counterparts – Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte.
Donald Trump called Bastille Day “a wonderful national celebration”.
“Our two nations are forever joined together by the spirit of revolution and the fight for freedom,” he said.
Earlier, he suggested he could review his position on climate change, after Emmanuel Macron argued in defense of the 2015 Paris accord.
President Donald Trump has launched another fierce attack on the media at a “campaign rally for America” event in Melbourne, Florida.
He told the crowd the media did not want “to report the truth” and had their own agenda.
President Trump also defended the achievements of his presidency so far, insisting that a spirit of optimism was sweeping the United States.
He had attacked the media at a press conference on February 16, as pressure mounted on his presidency.
President Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn quit earlier in the week. Donald Trump is to interview candidates for the role on February 19.
Image source Flickr
On February 18, Donald Trump and his wife Melania were greeted by thousands of supporters at the rally in a state he won in November’s election, while hundreds protested outside.
In his speech, Donald Trump said he wanted to speak to Americans “without the filter of fake news”.
Describing the media as “dishonest”, the president repeated his assertion that some outlets “don’t want to report the truth” and were making up their stories about him.
He said: “We will continue to expose them.”
It is unusual for a sitting president to hold a rally in the style of those held during election campaigns.
Throughout the week, President Trump launched attacks on the media while indicating his excitement at facing crowds in Florida again.
On February 16, Donald Trump held a 76-minute press conference where he told reporters their level of dishonesty was out of control, citing coverage of his campaign’s alleged contacts with Moscow.
Michael Flynn, President Trump’s national security adviser, resigned on February 13 after he misled VP Mike Pence about whether he had discussed US sanctions with Russia’s ambassador before his own appointment.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported earlier this week that members of Donald Trump’s campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.
While in Florida, President Trump is staying at his Mar-a-Lago resort for the third weekend in succession. In a tweet, he referred to the property as the “Southern White House”, although the private club is part of Donald Trump’s portfolio and is not government property.
Republican candidate Donald Trump cast his vote at a polling station in Manhattan, New York City.
Donald Trump greeted voters before casting his vote in the presidential election.
Image source Flickr
He was accompanied by his wife, Melania, and daughter, Ivanka, who also cast their ballots.
Speaking earlier by phone to Fox News, Donald Trump said: “I see so many hopes and so many dreams out there that didn’t happen, that could have happened, with leadership, with proper leadership. And people are hurt so badly.”
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have reiterated attacks on each other’s fitness for office as polls suggest the race for the White House is tightening.
The Democratic candidate – who has seen her national opinion poll lead shrink in recent days – targeted her Republican rival’s temperament and attitude to women.
Donald Trump said Hillary Clinton would be followed into the White House by criminal investigations.
The New York billionaire has gained ground on Hillary Clinton in some swing states, polls suggest.
On November 3, Melania Trump made a rare campaign appearance in the Philadelphia suburbs.
In her first speech since the GOP convention in July, Melania Trump spoke about being an immigrant and a mother and said her husband would “make America fair”.
Donald Trump’s wife also vowed to lead a campaign against cyber-bullying if she becomes first lady, and to combat a culture that has “gotten too mean and too rough”.
Melania Trump made no reference to her husband’s record of name-calling on social media.
Donald Trump has gained ground on Hillary Clinton in a number of swing states, including Florida and North Carolina, according to polls. Some national tracker polls are now suggesting the two candidates are neck-and-neck.
According to the Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project, Hillary Clinton’s odds of winning the necessary 270 Electoral College votes on November 1 at about 90%, down from 95% last week.
The momentum appears to be with Donald Trump, who has joked about having to stay on message, as the final weekend of campaigning approaches.
The Republican candidate has capitalized on a new FBI investigation into a Hillary Clinton aide’s emails.
At a rally in Jacksonville, Florida, Donald Trump’s fourth appearance in the state, he said: “Here we go again with the Clintons – you remember the impeachment and the problems.
“That’s not what we need in our country, folks. We need someone who is ready to go to work.”
Later, at a night-time rally in North Carolina, Donald Trump delivered a speech on defense in which he said he could not imagine Hillary Clinton as commander-in-chief.
Hillary Clinton continued to focus on Donald Trump’s character, telling a rally in North Carolina: “He has spent this entire campaign offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters.
“This has never happened to a nominee of a major party.”
The democratic candidate added: “If Donald Trump were to win this election we would have a commander-in-chief who is completely out of his depth and whose ideas are incredibly dangerous.”
President Barack Obama has been working almost as hard as Hillary Clinton, as he attempts to rally support among young voters and African Americans.
Analysis of early voting returns suggests black voters may not be turning out in the kinds of numbers they did for Barack Obama in 2012.
Alluding to Donald Trump’s past as a reality TV show host, Barack Obama told students at Florida International University in Miami: “This isn’t a joke. This isn’t Survivor. This isn’t The Bachelorette. This counts.”
Hillary Clinton also got a boost from her one-time rival for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders. He appeared alongside her at a rally in North Carolina on November 3, praising her commitment to increasing the minimum wage and tackling inequality.
Pharrell Williams was also at the event, hailing Hillary Clinton’s record on women’s rights.
Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, is officially suing Daily Mail and blogger Webster Tarpley for $150 million over allegations she was an escort in the 1990s, her lawyer says.
The Daily Mail suggested Melania Trump may have worked as a part-time escort in New York, and met her future husband earlier than previously reported.
The claims were “outright lying”, lawyer Charles Harder said.
Both the Daily Mail and Webster Tarpley have since retracted their articles.
Charles Harder said in a statement: “These defendants made several statements about Mrs. Trump that are 100% false and tremendously damaging to her personal and professional reputation.
“Defendants’ actions are so egregious, malicious and harmful to Mrs. Trump that her damages are estimated at $150 million.”
Photo Flickr Marc Nozell
Charles Harder has filed the complaint before the Circuit Court for Montgomery County in Maryland.
Melania Trump, 46, was born in Slovenia and moved to the United States to work as a model in the 1990s. She married Donald Trump in 2005.
Webster Tarpley had written that Melania Trump feared her past becoming public.
The Daily Mail article quoted claims published in Slovenian magazine Suzy that the modeling agency Melania Trump was working for also functioned as an escort agency, court papers show.
The British newspaper also quoted Slovenian journalist Bojan Pozar, author of an unauthorized biography, who claimed Melania met Donald Trump in 1995, three years before their reported first meeting in 1998.
Melania Trump’s lawyers say she moved to the United States in 1996.
Webster Tarpley meanwhile alleged that Melania Trump was “reportedly obsessed by fear of salacious revelations by wealthy clients from her time as a high-end escort” and had suffered a “full-blown nervous breakdown”.
The Daily Mail‘s retraction, published late on September 1, insisted it had not suggested the escort claims were true but said that, even if false, they could affect the US presidential campaign.
In July, Melania Trump was embroiled in a row over plagiarism, after her speech at the Republican convention. Lines matched almost word for word those delivered by Michelle Obama at the Democrats’ convention in 2008.
Melania Trump has rejected suggestions that she violated visa rules when she started working as a model in New York.
In a statement, Donald Trump’s said she had followed immigration laws “at all times”.
Melania Trump has yet to clarify what type of visa she used during a 1995 photo shoot in New York.
The Republican candidate has taken a hard line on illegal immigration in his campaign.
So far, the Trump campaign has refused to say exactly which visas Melania Trump had, and when she had them.
Photo Flickr Marc Nozell
The development comes during a turbulent week for the billionaire property developer.
There are reports of deep divisions in the GOP after a series of controversial statements by the nominee.
Melania Trump said she began working as a model in the US in 1996, but photos published at the weekend by a New York tabloid appear to have been taken in 1995 for a now defunct French magazine.
This discrepancy has raised questions about Melania Trump’s immigration status at the time and whether she had the right to work.
Paolo Zampolli, the owner of one modeling agency, says he sponsored Melania Trump for an H1B work visa in 1996.
Melania Trump has said that she had to go back to her native Slovenia every few months to renew her permit – something that is only generally necessary for tourist and business visas that do not permit work.
Donald Trump has also railed against the use of the H1B visa specifically, suggesting abuse of it is widespread and rampant.
Republican Donald Trump has secured his nomination for US president on day two of GOP’s National Convention.
House Speaker Paul Ryan urged delegates to unite behind Donald Trump, a day after splits in the party were evident as the convention opened.
The Trump campaign also faces accusations a speech by Melania Trump on July 18 was plagiarized from First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic Convention speech.
On the second day of the Republican National Convention, speakers focused almost exclusively on attacking Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a former prosecutor, held a mock trial for Hillary Clinton as the crowd chanted “lock her up”.
Chris Christie and others criticized Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account while she was serving as secretary of state.
An FBI investigation said Hillary Clinton was “extremely careless” but found her actions didn’t warrant criminal prosecution. However, Gov. Chris Christie and the crowd disagreed as he repeatedly yelled “guilty”.
Chris Christie said Hillary Clinton has “selfish, awful judgment” and was to blame for various foreign policy problems in Libya, Syria and elsewhere.
Donald Trump is expected to accept the nomination on July 21.
His children played a prominent role on July 19, standing with the New York delegation as he was declared winner and delivering remarks.
Donald Trump youngest daughter, Tiffany Trump, whose mother is former model and dancer Marla Maples, told some personal stories about her father.
Tiffany Trump recalled scribbling notes in her school report cards and how excited she becomes when introducing her father to her friends.
Donald Trump is a “natural-born encourager” who has motivated her to work hard, his daughter said.
His son, Donald Trump Jr., described him as his best friend and role model.
“When people tell him it can’t be done, that guarantees it will get done,” he said of his father.
Donald Trump Jr. said Hillary Clinton was a risk the US could not afford to take and that “if she were elected, she would be the first president who can’t pass a background check”.
Donald Trump addressed the audience via a live-stream and said the nomination was an honor.
“This is a movement, but we have to go all the way,” he said.
“This is going to be a leadership that puts American people first.”
Parts of Donald Trump Jr.’s speech used segments of an article that had already appeared in the journal The American Conservative.
However, the article’s author, FH Buckley, said it was not plagiarism, as Buckley himself acted as one of the family’s speechwriters.
Melania Trump is facing accusations of plagiarism after her speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention.
Commentators noticed similarities with First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic Convention speech.
Melania Trump’s speech also praised her husband as a “compassionate” man who would “fight for the country”.
It was her first speech of the campaign and she had the help of a speechwriting team.
In a section, Donald Trump’s wife said: “My parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise; that you treat people with respect.”
Michelle Obama’s speech in 2008 carried the lines: “Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them.”
Melania Trump speech continued: “[My parents] taught me to show the values and morals in my daily life. That is the lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow, because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
Michelle Obama said: “And Barack Obama and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generations. Because we want our children, and all children in this nation, to know that the only limit to the height of your achievement is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
Donald Trump’s communications adviser Jason Miller issued a statement saying: “In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking.
“Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”
Melania Trump, a Slovenian-born former model, had used the speech to portray her husband as a tough but compassionate unifying force.
“He’s tough when he has to be but he’s also kind and fair and caring,” she said.
“The kindness is not always noted, but it’s there for all to see. That is one reason I fell in love with him to begin with.”
Melania Trump has kept a lower profile compared with other spouses of major candidates. Her adult children have often filled the role.
Her mostly personal speech contrasted with the night’s other speakers who spoke about “making America safe again”.
She said: “If you want someone to fight for you and your country, I can assure you, he is the guy.”
A wide range of speakers, including a county sheriff, a decorated combat veteran and a former model, told stories of military service, urban crime and the dangers of illegal immigration.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton took aim at presumptive Democratic nominee State Hillary Clinton, questioning her judgement in foreign affairs.
“Who would trust Hillary Clinton to protect them?” said Rudy Giuliani, whose rousing speech fired up the crowd at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Many GOP leaders – such as Ohio Governor John Kasich whose state is hosting the convention – have decided not to attend this year’s festivities, turned off by Donald Trump’s controversial stances on immigration and foreign policy.
Donald Trump has called for a ban on Muslims entering the US and also advocated deporting almost 11 million undocumented immigrants.
A speech by Wisconsin police sheriff David Clarke strongly defended police officers in the wake of the deadly shooting in Baton Rouge, which killed three officers over the weekend.
“Blue lives matter!” David Clarke said to huge cheers from the delegates in the convention hall.
The killings prompted Donald Trump to say the country was falling apart – a claim strongly disputed by President Barack Obama.
Earlier, anti-Trump delegates failed in their final push to block Donald Trump’s nomination.
The vote that would have allowed delegates to back a candidate of their choice was quashed when three states reportedly backed out.
Some said the GOP officials had sabotaged their efforts on purpose.
The push was the last gasp for those who hope to see a different Republican candidate get the nomination.