Former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub ripped into President Donald Trump for “engaging in campaign activity” by signing “Make America Get Again” hats during his unannounced visit to troops in Iraq today, his first trip to a war zone since he was elected.
Press pool footage of the surprise visit on Wednesday showed the president signing “Make America Great Again” hats and “Trump 2020” patches for troops during his and first lady Melania Trump’s three-hour trip to the al-Asad Air Base — a joint U.S.-Iraqi military base west of Baghdad.
Shaub took to Twitter to “shame” and condemn Trump for behavior he considered “truly disgusting.”
“I took down a tweet about what Trump did on his trip to Iraq because I’m worried about the chance that someone might blame the soldiers. It’s not their fault,” he tweeted. “Trump’s engaging in campaign activity during this trip is on Trump and Trump alone. Disgusting. Truly disgusting. Shame!”
The troops who brought the MAGA gear for Trump to sign may have breached military rules.
The Department of Defense guidelines for political activities states that “active duty personnel may not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel should avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval, or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign, or cause.”
Bloomberg White House reporter Jennifer Epstein posted to Twitter an image of troops raising their MAGA hats in the air while waiting for Trump to arrive.
Epstein also posted another of a servicewoman holding up a blue Trump MAGA banner.
Trump flag (she dropped it after she saw me taking a photo) pic.twitter.com/LhPwUNdEK3
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) December 27, 2018
“Trump flag (she dropped it after she saw me taking a photo),” Epstein wrote, alongside the photo.