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Trump becomes first president since 2002 not to visit troops at Christmastime

NBC News logo NBC News 12/25/2018 Elyse Perlmutter-Gumbiner
a group of people sitting on a bed: Image: President George W. Bush shakes hands with U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kyle Stipp after presenting him with two Purple Heart medals at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Dec. 22, 2008. © Eric Draper Image: President George W. Bush shakes hands with U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kyle Stipp after presenting him with two Purple Heart medals at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Dec. 22, 2008.

On Christmas Day, President Donald Trump took part in a long-running practice of presidents who called troops stationed around the country and the world.

But he broke from a recent tradition of actually visiting troops and wounded warriors. He did so in 2017, when he visited wounded troops at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Dec. 21 (and invited Coast Guard service members to play golf at his course in West Palm Beach, Florida).

By staying home on Tuesday, Trump became the first president since 2002 who didn't visit military personnel around Christmastime.

a group of people sitting at a table in a room: Image: President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama speak to U.S. Marines and personnel on Christmas day at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in 2016. © Hugh Gentry Image: President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama speak to U.S. Marines and personnel on Christmas day at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in 2016.

Based on a check of White House news releases, 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, 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.

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