Unlike last year when he visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center the week before Christmas, President Donald Trump opted to stay home this year, visiting no American troops during the Christmas season.
According to NBC News, Trump became the first president in 15 years to skip out on the relatively new tradition.
Based on a check of NBC logs, President Barack Obama visited troops at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in Kaneohe Bay, every Christmas he was in office, from 2009 to 2016.
Before him, according to a check of news releases, President George W. Bush visited wounded warriors at Walter Reed from 2003 to 2008. He did not visit troops at Christmas in 2002, in the run-up to the Iraq War, or in 2001.
Trump’s failure to visit troops in the lead up to Christmas joins a handful of troop-related failures for which the president has been criticized in recent months:
Trump has taken heat from critics for not visiting troops in an active combat zone, after canceling a trip to an American military burial ground outside of Paris last month due to weather and skipping the traditional Veterans Day visit to Arlington National Cemetery just two days later.
The president said during a November interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace that he has “had an unbelievably busy schedule” in explaining his failure to visit troops in active combat zones, but insisted he “will be doing it.”