President Donald Trump incorrectly told troops in Iraq on Wednesday that he gave them their first pay raise in more than 10 years – a falsehood he has repeatedly told.
Speaking to troops at Al Asad Air Base during his surprise visit to Iraq, Trump told troops: “You protect us. We are always going to protect you. 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.”
In fact, military pay has increased every year for more than three decades. It was raised 2.4% in 2018 and then 2.6% in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. The 2.6% pay raise is the largest in the past 9 years.
In photos: President Trump's holiday visit to US troops in Iraq
The President and first lady quietly swept into Iraq on Wednesday to pay a holiday visit to US troops – the first trip Trump has made to a war zone.
“They had plenty of people that came up, they said, ‘You know, we could make it smaller. We could make it 3%, we could make it 2%, we could make it 4%,’” Trump told the troops about the latest pay raise. “I said, ‘No. Make it 10%. Make it more than 10%.’”
‘Cause it’s been a long time, it’s been more than 10 years. Been more than 10 years, that’s a long time,” Trump said, repeating the false claim.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.