- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 27, 2018

President Trump blasted CNN on Thursday for what he characterized as its damned if you do, damned if you don’t reporting on a visit with military personnel in Iraq and Germany.

The network deemed “fake news” by the commander in chief riled him up yet again this week after publishing a story titled, “Troops bringing president ‘Make America Great Again’ hats to sign may have violated a military rule”.

At issue on Wednesday evening was the concern that troops seeking autographs on the iconic red caps were somehow running afoul of Department of Defense guidelines.

“CNN & others within the Fake News Universe were going wild about my signing MAGA hats for our military in Iraq and Germany,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “If these brave young people ask me to sign their hat, I will sign. Can you imagine my saying NO? We brought or gave NO hats as the Fake News first reported!”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders posted a similar message.

“CNN will attack anyone who supports President Trump, including the brave men and women of our military who fight everyday to protect our freedom,” she tweeted.

Christopher Bowyer-Meeder, a spokesperson for the US Air Force, Europe, told CNN that at a Ramstein Air Base event were permitted to bring personal items for an autograph.

Retired Rear Adm. John Kirby, a former Obama administration spokesman at the Pentagon and State Department, bristled at the development.

“It is, in fact, a campaign slogan, that is a campaign item, and it is completely inappropriate for the troops to do this,” the CNN analyst said while appearing on “The Situation Room” with host Wolf Blitzer. “Every time [Trump is] around military audiences, he tends to politicize it, and he brings in complaints and grievances from outside the realm of military policy.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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