Shirking presidential norms on Thanksgiving Day, President Donald Trump politicized his call with U.S. troops as he disparaged American judges and decried asylum-seeking migrants approaching the southern border.
> Speaking with a US general in Afghanistan, Trump likened the fight against terrorists to his efforts to prevent a group of migrants from illegally entering the United States, and he assailed federal judges who have ruled against his administration. The President also pressed the commanding officer of a Coast Guard ship in Bahrain on trade before touting his trade policies and arguing that "every nation in the world is taking advantage of us."
> Trump has not shied away from politicizing the military in the past, and on Thursday, he drew on US men and women in uniform to justify his controversial deployment of nearly 6,000 US troops to the southern border. Without evidence, he painted Air Force Gen. David Lyons as a proponent of his hardline immigration policies after Lyons said US troops are fighting in Afghanistan to prevent terrorists from reaching "our shores again."
> "Large numbers of people are forming at our border and I don't even have to ask you, I know what you want to do, you want to make sure that you know who we're letting in. And we're not letting in anybody essentially because we want to be very, very careful," Trump said, speaking to Lyons over the phone. "You're right, you're doing it over there. We're doing it over here."
Trump also blasted the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, telling the general it has “become a big thorn in our side.”
> "It's a terrible thing when judges take over your protective services, when they tell you how to protect your border. It's a disgrace," Trump said. "It's a disgrace."
> Earlier this week, a judge from the Northern District of California -- where cases get appealed to the 9th Circuit -- issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Trump administration from barring migrants who cross into the US illegally from seeking asylum.
The president's approach to the holiday phone call drew criticism:
> "This was, sadly, predictable and avoidable," said retired Rear Adm. John Kirby, a CNN military and diplomatic analyst. "The President's conduct on that call, the manner in which he politicized it, demonstrated an utter and complete disregard for what military service means."