/Trump makes two false claims about military pay raise during Iraq visit

Trump makes two false claims about military pay raise during Iraq visit

President Donald Trump bragged to military personnel that he had secured them a “big pay raise” while also repeating an earlier false claim about it being the first one in a number of years.

Speaking to troops stationed at the at al-Asad Air Base in Iraq during the president’s first visit to an active war zone, Trump boasted about how he had just delivered them “one of the biggest pay raises you’ve ever received,” while falsely saying it was also the first pay increase they had received in a decade.

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“Is anybody here willing to give up the big pay raise you just got?” Trump said, reports the Huffington Post. “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.” 

This claim by Trump was already debunked earlier this year after the president made a similar remark in May.

According to the Defense Department, military members have seen a pay raise in each of the last 10 years, ranging from 1 percent to 2.9 percent. As noted by fact-checking website PolitiFact, the last time there was not a pay increase for the military was in 1983, but only because the date of the raise was move forward from October 1 to January 1.

Military personnel received a 2.4% in 2018 and it will rise by another 2.6% in 2019 as a result of the National Defense Authorization Act signed by Trump in August, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Despite the 2.6% increase already being the largest in nine years, Trump exaggerated the amount by nearly four times its actual worth, while claiming he fought with “plenty of people” for the figure, and again claiming troops hadn’t received a raise in more than 10 years.

“They said, ‘You know, we could make it smaller. We could make it 3 percent. We could make it 2 percent. We could make it 4 percent,’” Trump claimed. “I said, ‘No. Make it 10 percent. Make it more than 10 percent.’

“Because it’s been a long time. It’s been more than 10 years. It’s been more than 10 years. That’s a long time. And, you know, you really put yourselves out there, and you put your lives out there. So congratulations.”

Following his unannounced visit to Iraq, Trump is scheduled to travel to Ramstein Air Base in Germany before returning to Washington.

Donald Trump speaks to members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018. The president appeared to boast about a fictional pay raise he secured for the troops during his visit. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images