Donald Trump’s love of Twitter has smashed plenty of presidential norms during his two years in office. But even within that framework, where we have come to expect the sitting president to fling insults and invective, his latest mistake is pretty egregious. Trump may have inadvertently revealed the names and locations of Seal Team Five while visiting with troops in Iraq.
In a trip that was largely kept secret until Trump landed, the president shared photos of himself and First Lady Melania Trump along with the top Navy squad, thereby revealing that they were stationed at the base he was visiting in western Iraq. The photo and videos revealed the faces of the team members whose identities are typically kept secret and let any of his Twitter followers know that they were stationed at al-Asad Airbase.
In the past, photos featuring the elite team have been shared with the identities of the soldiers concealed. And while it's within Trump's purview to declassify information, the decision to post an unblurred photo of the Seals is a significant break with tradition and protocol.
Such a break fits with Trump's indecorous holiday message, in which Trump used his Christmas Day address to attack his detractors and fight for a border wall.
It's a fitting cap to a trip that was meant to be completely secret but was broken wide open on Twitter. According to NBC News, airplane enthusiasts had shared that Air Force One was flying to Iraq well before the official word got out. Wikileaks official Twitter shared a flight map showing Air Force One's movements ahead of Trump's announcement that he was visiting the troops.
Trump's visit helped him avoid the dubious distinction of being the first president to skip out on a holiday visit with the military since the beginning of the War on Terror.