Donald Trump told troops in Iraq that he had given them a 10 percent pay raise, a statement that is not factually true, according to NBC News. He also told them that he gave them their first pay increase in 10 years, when in fact they’ve gotten pay increases each year for the past several decades.
Over the Christmas holiday, Trump and first lady Melania made a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq, his first visit to American troops in an active combat zone in his presidency. The visit was well-received by the troops, who shook hands with the president, posed for pictures with him, and even received signed “Make America Great Again” hats (which may have been a violation of military rules, according to this Inquisitr report).
One particular statement that got Trump plenty of cheers from the troops was his remark that he had secured a 10 percent pay raise for them.
“You just got one of the biggest pay raises you’ve ever received… We got you a big one. I got you a big one.”
In fact, the troops’ most recent pay raise was not 10 percent, nor did Donald Trump have anything to do with it.
In fact, the military’s most recent pay raise was not 10 percent; it was a far-lower 2.6 percent. And Trump had little to do with it, military pay increases are, by law, tied to increases in private-sector wages, as calculated by the Department of Labor. Congress can enact a larger pay increase if it so chooses.
Trump, for his part, claimed that he personally had advocated for the military’s pay increase.
“They said: ‘You know, we could make it smaller. We could make it 3 percent. We could make it 2 percent. We could make it 4 percent.’ I said: ‘No. Make it 10 percent. Make it more than 10 percent. Because it’s been a long time. It’s been more than 10 years. That’s a long time. And, you know, you really put yourselves out there, and you put your lives out there. So congratulations.”
Also not true is Trump’s claim that it had been more than 10 years since the military got a pay increase. Actually, the military’s pay increased last year, as it did the year before that, and the year before that. The military has gotten an annual pay increase every year for the past several decades.
Basic pay for active-duty soldiers ranges from between $19,659 to $38,059 this year, based on experience, rank, and other factors. The median personal income in the United States, according to Wallet Hacks, is in the range of $56,000.