Fox News co-anchor Julie Banderas ripped into President Trump over his false statements while addressing US troops in Iraq.
Members of the five-person panel of Fox News’s “Outnumbered” debated whether Trump’s comments to troops at the airbase — in particular, him describing the U.S. as “not the suckers of the world” anymore — amounted to support for U.S. forces or a rebuke of past administrations and wars.
“I would never consider us as a country, as the United States, suckers,” Banderas said. “We have always led the fight in every single major war. Our military men and women, I believe, deserve way more respect than that.”
“What does that say to the families who have lost loved ones in wars prior to right now?” Banderas added. ” ‘Oh, so my son or daughter was a sucker when they were fighting for our freedom?’ ”
Author Jessica Tarlov agreed, adding that Trump used his appearance at the airbase to stage an impromptu “campaign rally.”
“His approval rating with the military is at 44 percent,” Tarlov said of the president. “While [former Defense Secretary] Jim Mattis’s is at 84 percent.”
“Why is that? If he is the most beloved and the most supportive of the military out there, why is his approval rating under 50 percent?” she added.
Co-host Lisa Kennedy claimed the president’s comments were meant to praise the bravery of U.S. troops.
“I would push back on that. I think it speaks to their bravery,” Kennedy responded. “I think it speaks to these people who enlist, these people who fight. They’re incredibly brave because sometimes they put themselves in harm’s way for incursions and wars that don’t make sense.”
While praising the soldiers’ contribution to the causes of justice and peace, Trump falsely took credit for the annual pay raise the military received.
“Is anybody here willing to give up the big pay raise you just got?” he surveyed the crowd. “Raise your hand please. Oh, I don’t see too many hands.”
Trump then cited numbers that have since been debunked and declared completely false.
“You haven’t gotten [a raise] in more than ten years,” he said. “And we got you a big one. I got you a big one.”
PolitiFact, an independent fact-checking site, noted that the military has received a routine pay raise every year since at least 1961. The 2.4 percent increase that went into effect in 2018 was the largest since 2010, but they have continued apace every year.
Trump then falsely asserted that the pay increase was actually ten percent, recounting phony conversations in which “plenty of people” tried to impose a smaller raise.
“You had plenty of people that came up and said, ‘you know, we can make it smaller. We can make it three percent, we can make it two percent, we can make it four percent.’ I said ‘no. Make it ten percent. Make it more than ten percent.’”
PolitiFact has rated these claims Pants on Fire.