Speaking to five branches of the military serving overseas via satellite from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump highlighted how the US military is “really winning” since he took office.
In the Thanksgiving teleconference, Trump told members of the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division stationed in Afghanistan, “Everybody is talking about the progress you’ve made in Afghanistan since I opened it up, and you’ve turned it around in the last three-to-five months like nobody has seen.”
Trump also spoke directly to a Marine Corps unit serving in Iraq, thanking them for their efforts against the terrorist organization ISIS.
“What you are doing with ISIS is again being talked about – with armed forces, we’re really winning. We know how to win, but we have to let you win. You weren’t winning before. They were letting you play even. We want to let you win,” Trump said, referencing the Obama administration.
At various times during the conference Trump contrasted his own leadership with that of his predecessor, former President Barack Obama: “They say we’ve made more progress against ISIS than they did in years with the previous administration, and that’s because I’m letting you perform your job.”
Trump added: “We’re very very proud of you. Everybody in this country is watching and they are seeing positive reports for a change. Instead of the neutral and negative reports.”
Later in the morning, the President and First Lady visited members of the US Coast Guard and their families stationed at Coast Guard Station Lake Worth in Florida.
Speaking to the attendees, Trump called meeting with the troops an “honor” and thanked the Coast Guard for the work they did saving stranded people in the hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico this year.
“You saved 16,000 lives. Nobody knows that,” Trump said.
He also commented on the “Cajun Navy” civilians who take their boats out in hurricanes. “I still haven’t figured out how people take their boats out in to a hurricane,” he said.
Trump added: “There is no brand, of any kind, not just talking about a military brand, that has gone up more than the Coast Guard.”
The President is spending Thanksgiving at his resort in West Palm Beach.
CNN’s Elizabeth Landers and Allie Malloy contributed to this report.