Thanksgiving Day is full of traditions, and the president, unsurprisingly, plays a significant role in many of these on behalf of the nation. One of the president's traditional Thanksgiving Day tasks is to call American troops abroad, usually with a message to boost the morale of those missing out on Thanksgiving with their families. This year, however, President Donald Trump's Thanksgiving message to the troops stationed abroad wasn't exactly a morale-booster.
Trump's call included a discussion of his controversial decision to send troops to the southern border, disparaging remarks about federal judges, and a defense of his trade policies, according to CNN.
“You are doing an incredible job. A lot of progress has been made and your courage truly inspires us all. We know what you are doing. We watch it," Trump said, according to the New York Post. "Oftentimes, we are watching it every night during the news, and we know it is dangerous, and we also know that you have an unbelievable impact.”
At another point, though, the president turned his focus to the United States' border with Mexico, directly addressing an Air Force general stationed in Afghanistan, Gen. David Lyons, as though Lyons was completely in support of his policies, according to CNN.
"You probably see over the news what's happening on our southern border," Trump said on the call, according to ABC News. "I don't have to even ask you. I know what you want to do, you want to make sure that you know who we're letting in."
In response to the caravan of migrants approaching the United States border with Mexico, Trump deployed about 5,800 troops to the border, according to The Washington Post.
Trump then moved onto his oft-repeated criticisms of various federal judges who have deemed some of his policies unconstitutional, referring in particular to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as "a big thorn in our side," as CNN wrote.
"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 on the call, echoing a tweet of his from Thanksgiving Day. "It's a disgrace."
Later, Trump also started to talk about trade with a Coast Guard commander, as ABC News wrote.
"We've been taken advantage of for many, many years by bad trade deals," Trump said, according to ABC News
"We don't see any issues in terms of trade right now," the commander responded.
In a different conversation on the call, Trump expressed his surprise at the fact that a colonel in Afghanistan was in charge of 10,000 troops, according to Vox journalist Aaron Rupar.
"Wow! That's a lot of people. That's fantastic. That's beautiful. And you're enjoying what you're doing, is that right?" Trump said on the call, according to a Twitter post from Rupar.
According to ABC News, the call also included many points at which Trump congratulated himself and the job he's doing in the country.
"I hope that you'll take solace in knowing that all of the American families you hold so close to your heart are all doing well," Trump said. "The nation's doing well economically, better than anybody in the world."