“You’ll come back,” the president told soldiers at the Bagram base – a remark interpreted by the reporters covering the event as a reference to the quality of the food he was giving them, rather than warning of further tours of duty in a war that is already 18 years old.
Trump left Afghanistan three and half hours after he arrived and flew back to his Florida resort of Mar-a-Lago, leaving behind conflicting clues about his intentions. He restated his frequent promise that he would bring the troops home, but also insisted: “We don’t play for ties,” adding: “We’re going to stay until such time as we have a deal or we have total victory.”
Distributing hot dinners to soldiers is a standard requisite for being commander-in-chief, though it is one that Trump has largely managed to avoid. After nearly three years in office, it was his first visit to Afghanistan and only his second trip in the vicinity of a war zone. But with the presidential election now less than a year away, and the grey cloud of impeachment hanging over the White House, he is cloaking himself as tightly as he can in khaki.