President Donald Trump has falsely claimed to troops that he gave them their first pay rise in more than 10 years – and greatly exaggerated the size of the increase.
Mr Trump made the statement to troops in Iraq on Wednesday after arriving late on Christmas Day.
“You protect us, we are always going to protect you,” Mr Trump said during his visit to Al Asad airbase. “And you just saw that, ’cause you just got one of the biggest pay raises you’ve ever received. You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years. More than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one.”
It was not the first time that Mr Trump has made such a claim, but his remarks were misleading.
Military pay has increased each year for more than three decades, with a 2.4 per cent increase in 2018. The 2019 National Defence Authorisation Act brought a 2.6 per cent increase. That most recent raise is the largest in the last nine years.
During his remarks, Mr Trump claimed that he had rejected offers to increase military pay by lower rates, and said that he had pushed for a massive increase.
He said: “They had plenty of people that came up, they said, ‘You know, we could make it smaller. We could make it 3 per cent, we could make it 2 per cent, we could make it 4 per cent’.”
He continued: “I said, ‘No. Make it 10 per cent. Make it more than 10 per cent’. Cause it’s been a long time, it’s been more than 10 years. Been more than 10 years, that’s a long time.”
The president’s surprise visit to Iraq was his first trip to a war zone.
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