DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to receive the remains of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing in the north of Syria.
Trump, caught in a battle with congressional Democrats that has led to a partial close of almost a month of the government, announced his trip through a pre-dawn tweet, saying he was "going to be with the families of 4 people very specials that lost their lives in our country!
Trump told reporters at the White House South Garden before leaving that he planned to meet with families, a duty that said "it could be the hardest thing for me to do as president."
He was met by military personnel at Dover Air Force Base after a short flight from Joint Base Andrews, but did not speak to reporters before entering his caravan.
Flanked by military officers, Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan climbed a ramp that led to a military transport plane, where they prayed to honor the memory of Scott Wirtz, a civilian employee of the Army. Department of Defense of St. Louis.
Trump lowered the board and saluted, while six service members dressed in white gloves and uniforms carried a coffin covered with an American flag that carried Wirtz to a gray pickup truck waiting for him.
The Dover base is a traditional center for returning the remains of US troops abroad.
The United States believes that the attack that killed the Americans was the work of Islamic State militants.
Trump announced last month that he planned to quickly withdraw US troops from Syria, but has since said he does not have to go fast while trying to ensure the safety of Kurdish allies in northern Syria who are at risk of being attacked by the neighboring Turkey.
Trump told reporters on Saturday that his Syrian policy has progressed, but that work remains to destroy the Islamic State's objectives. He defended his plans for a withdrawal.
"It is moving very well, but when I took over it was a total disaster, but you have to ask yourself, we are killing ISIS for Russia, for Iran, for Syria, for Iraq, for many other places. to our people back home, "he said.
In addition to Wirtz, those who died during Wednesday's attack in Manbij, Syria, were Army Chief of Operations Jonathan Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Florida, and Chief of the Navy, Cryptology Technician, Shannon Kent. , 35 years old, identified as from New York. , the Department of Defense said in a statement.
The Pentagon did not identify the fourth person killed, a contractor who worked for a private company. US media identified her as Ghadir Taher, a 27-year-old employee of defense contractor Valiant Integrated Services.
Report by Alexandra Alper; Written by Steve Holland and David Brunnstrom; Edited by Leslie Adler