Trump’s odd thanks
President uses holiday speech to pat himself on back, air gripes
PRESIDENT Donald Trump used a Thanksgiving Day call to troops deployed overseas to pat himself on the back and air grievances about the courts, trade and migrants heading to the US-Mexico border.
Mr Trump’s call, made from his opulent private Mar-aLago club, struck an unusually political tone as he spoke with members of the military to wish them happy holidays.
“It’s a disgrace,” Mr Trump said of judges who have blocked his attempts to overhaul US immigration law, as he linked his efforts to secure the border with military missions overseas.
Mr Trump later threatened to close the US border with Mexico for an undisclosed period of time if his administration determines Mexico has lost “control” on its side.
The call was a uniquely
Trump blend of boasting, peppered questions and off-thecuff observations as his comments veered from venting about slights to praising troops – “You really are our heroes,” he said – as waiters set Thanksgiving dinner tables on the outdoor terrace behind him. And it was yet another show of how Mr Trump has dramatically transformed the presidency, erasing traditional divisions be-
tween domestic policy and military matters and efforts to keep the troops clear of politics.
“You probably see over the news what’s happening on our southern border,” Mr Trump told one Air Force brigadier general in Afghanistan, adding: “I don’t have to even ask you. I know what you want to do, you want to make sure that you know who we’re letting in.”
Mr Trump also continued
to rail against the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals, which he said had become “a big thorn in our side”.
“It’s a terrible thing,” he said, when judges “tell you how to protect your border”.
He later told reporters: “nobody’s done more for the military than me.”
Asked what he was thankful for, Mr Trump cited his “great family”, as well as himself.