Trump Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq to See American Troops – The New York Times

But the United States still has 14,000 troops in Afghanistan and about 2,000 in Syria. While the number of casualties in these conflicts is a fraction of what it was during the two previous administrations, the fact that American troops are still on the ground — in the case of Afghanistan, 17 years after they were first deployed — attests to the difficulty of extracting the country from these entanglements.

Mr. Trump’s trip came at a sensitive moment, as the president’s clash with Mr. Mattis over the troop withdrawals opened a rift between the commander in chief and the military.

Over the weekend, Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State, accelerated his resignation, telling colleagues that he could not in good conscience carry out Mr. Trump’s newly declared policy of withdrawing American troops from Syria. Mr. McGurk, a seasoned diplomat who was considered central to the fight against the terrorist group, had originally planned to retire in February.

Mr. Trump’s announcements on Syria and Afghanistan have left a trail of confusion, with White House officials unable to explain the timetable for the withdrawals or their strategy to prevent a return of radical extremism in either country.

Adding to the sense of uncertainty is the partial shutdown of the government, which does not affect active-duty military but had led Mr. Trump to cancel his holiday visit to his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, and remain sequestered in the White House.

On Christmas, Mr. Trump and Melania Trump, the first lady, made calls from the West Wing to troops stationed abroad, though he was criticized in the media for being the first president since 2002 not to visit troops or wounded warriors on the holiday.

Mr. Trump says he has “done more for the military” than many of his recent predecessors but had not made visiting active duty military personnel a priority.

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Catriona Gray is happy to give PH ‘best Christmas gift ever’ | ABS-CBN News

Miss Philippines Catriona Gray waves after being crowned Miss Universe during the final round of the Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok, Thailand. Athit Perawongmetha, Reuters

Catriona Gray still could not believe that she is the new Miss Universe.

The Philippines’ representative to the popular pageant was interviewed at the lounge of Miss Universe sponsor Chi moments after winning the title in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday.

“Wow. It’s like you second-guess yourself. It’s like, ‘Did they say Philippines?’” she said, recalling the moment that she was proclaimed winner.

“But when you hear the crowd… Of course, so many Filipinos are so passionate, they’re all here. And to hear the roar of the crowd, [I realized] ‘Oh, it’s me!’” she continued. “It just passed so fast. I can’t… I haven’t even wrapped my mind around it.”

With her win, the Philippines now has four Miss Universe titleholders, joining Pia Wurtzbach (2015), Margie Moran (1973), and Gloria Diaz (1969).

The Filipino-Australian beauty queen thanked all those who have supported her in her journey to the Miss Universe crown, and is happy to give the Philippines another reason to celebrate during the holiday season.

“Sa lahat ng Filipinos and all the fans, thank you so much for all the love and support thus far,” she said.

“Mga kababayan ko, I’m happy to give you the best Christmas gift ever.”

When asked about the first thing she wants to do after winning Miss Universe, Gray replied: “I just want to hug my parents. I saw them in the back there, I just want to give them a big hug.”

“I also want to see my team and just say thank you because I couldn’t have done this without so many different people,” she ended.

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6 Easy Christmas Gifts (+ Free Printables)

6 homemade and easy Christmas gifts! These candies/treats are put in a snack-size ziplock bag and you can staple on the FREE printable bag toppers!

video tutorial

Above this text is a quick video overview of these easy Christmas gifts. Below is an individual picture of each Christmas bag, the supplies and/or recipes needed, and a link to download the free printable. These printables were designed by the amazing CeeCeeBelle’s! Be sure to check out their online shop for so many cute printables — I own way too many (is that even a thing?!)

A few quick notes on these Easy Christmas Gifts:

  • Each bag has it’s own printable page so you won’t have to print more than what you’ll be gifting.
  • For the pictures and video shown, the bag toppers are printed on glossy cardstock paper. (I emailed the PDF’s to Staples and had them printed there.)
  • A few things that make cutting out and folding the printables super easy is using a paper cutter (I recommend this one), and something to score the paper to make the fold neat (I recommend this one).
  • I found that Zip-loc has the nicest looking snack-size bag, but any snack size bags will work.
  • Most of these gifts are best made only 1-2 days before gifting to keep the treats at optimal freshness (oreo truffles and any with marshmallows included)
  • Do NOT print straight from the website file; make sure to first SAVE it to your computer and then print! 🙂

REINDEER NOSES | EASY CHRISTMAS GIFTS AND FREE PRINTABLES | 6 of the easiest Christmas gifts ever! These candies/treats are put in a snack-size ziplock bag and you can staple on the FREE printable bag toppers! chelseasmessyapron.com

REINDEER NOSES

First up: Reindeer Noses.

Supplies:

  • Snack Sized Ziplock Bag
  • Stapler
  • Whoppers Candies (or other similar round chocolate candies like Milk Duds)
  • Red Candies: I use Cherry Chew Sour Balls

Fill up the snack-sized bags with mostly whoppers and then add in one red candy (for rudolph’s nose of course) and seal the bag. Cut out, score, and fold the printable over the candy filled bag. Staple each side and these are ready to gift!

LUMPS OF COAL | CHRISTMAS GIFTS AND FREE PRINTABLES | 6 of the easiest Christmas gifts ever! These candies/treats are put in a snack-size ziplock bag and you can staple on the FREE printable bag toppers! chelseasmessyapron.com

LUMPS OF COAL

Next up: Lumps of Coal.

Supplies:

  • Snack Sized Ziplock Bag
  • Stapler
  • Mint Chocolate Oreo Truffles (Recipe below)

Fill up the snack-sized bags with 3-4 truffles. Cut out, score, and fold the printable over the candy filled bag. Staple each side and these are ready to gift!

from vote

Print

“Lumps of Coal” Mint Oreo Truffles

Package up easy Christmas gifts using this 3-ingredient recipe to make mint oreo truffles

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Author: Chelsea

Ingredients

  • regular oreos
  • ouncesfull fat cream cheese,softened
  • bagAndes Creme De Menthe Baking Chips

Instructions

  1. No need to separate the oreos – you’ll use the cookie and the creme.

  2. In a blender or food processor, process the oreos (start with 16 and pulse 2 extra if the mixture is too wet) until you get a fine crumb consistency. Pour into a bowl.

  3. Add in the softened cream cheese and mix until a thick and wet dough has been created. This takes a bit of patience. Just keep stirring, you’ll get there! (I recommend using hand mixers.)

  4. Roll the “dough” into even sized balls/truffles.

  5. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt 1/2 cup of Andes chocolate chips for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir for 30 seconds and then return for 15 more seconds if they aren’t all the way melted.

  6. Coat the truffles in the melted Andes chocolate. Shake off excess chocolate and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

  7. Repeat by melting the rest of the Andes chocolate and continue to dip the truffles. (I don’t melt all the chocolate at once because it tends to harden fast!)

  8. Let harden at room temperature before eating/placing in the ziplock bag. (Store in the fridge if not eating/gifting right away).

SNOWMAN SOUP | CHRISTMAS GIFTS AND FREE PRINTABLES | 6 of the easiest Christmas gifts ever! These candies/treats are put in a snack-size ziplock bag and you can staple on the FREE printable bag toppers! chelseasmessyapron.com

SNOWMAN SOUP

For the cold weather: Snowman Soup.

Supplies:

  • Snack Sized Ziplock Bag
  • Stapler
  • Hot Chocolate Mixes
  • Peppermint Sticks
  • Miniature Marshmallows

Fill up the snack-sized bags with a hot chocolate mix, a peppermint stick, and a handful of miniature marshmallows. Cut out, score, and fold the printable over the candy filled bag. Staple each side and these are ready to gift! *Even though the bag is sealed, don’t package these more than 1-2 days before gifting to keep that at maximum freshness.

GRINCH PILLS | CHRISTMAS GIFTS AND FREE PRINTABLES | 6 of the easiest Christmas gifts ever! These candies/treats are put in a snack-size ziplock bag and you can staple on the FREE printable bag toppers! chelseasmessyapron.com

GRINCH PILLS

To cure any holiday grumps: Grinch Pills.

Supplies:

  • Snack Sized Ziplock Bag
  • Stapler
  • Mint M&M candies

Fill up the snack-sized bags with mint M&Ms. Cut out, score, and fold the printable over the candy filled bag. Staple each side and these are ready to gift!

MRS. KLAUS KISSES | CHRISTMAS GIFTS AND FREE PRINTABLES | 6 of the easiest Christmas gifts ever! These candies/treats are put in a snack-size ziplock bag and you can staple on the FREE printable bag toppers! chelseasmessyapron.com

MRS. KLAUS KISSES

My personal favorite: Mrs. Klaus Kisses

Supplies:

  • Snack Sized Ziplock Bag
  • Stapler
  • Hershey’s Kisses (Christmas wrapped colors are a fun alternative!)

Fill up the snack-sized bags with Hershey’s Kisses. Cut out, score, and fold the printable over the candy filled bag. Staple each side and these are ready to gift!

GINGERBREAD S'MORES | CHRISTMAS GIFTS AND FREE PRINTABLES | 6 of the easiest Christmas gifts ever! These candies/treats are put in a snack-size ziplock bag and you can staple on the FREE printable bag toppers! chelseasmessyapron.com

GINGERBREAD S’MORES

And last: Gingerbread S’mores.

Supplies:

  • Snack Sized Ziplock Bag
  • Stapler
  • Gingerbread cookies (I LOVE the ones Pepperidge Farms makes; you can find them on a cookie aisle next to Milanos)
  • Large Marshmallows
  • Miniature Hershey’s Candy Bars

Fill up the snack-sized bags with 2 Gingerbread cookies, 1 large marshmallow, and 1-2 miniature candy bars. Cut out, score, and fold the printable over the candy filled bag. Staple each side and these are ready to gift! *Even though the bag is sealed, don’t package these more than 1-2 days before gifting to keep that at maximum freshness.

I hope you enjoy these easy Christmas gifts and happy gifting! XO

DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE BAG TOPPERS HERE: (Click on the link)

Lumps of Coal

Mrs. Klaus Kisses

Grinch Pills

Gingerbread S’mores

Snowman Soup

Reindeer Noses

Looking for more FREE Christmas Printables? 

More Fun Christmas Ideas Here:

Some of the links above are affiliate links which means if you were to buy through that link, I would receive a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thanks for supporting Chelsea’s Messy Apron ?

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House lawmakers formally nominate Trump for 2019 Nobel Peace Prize

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South Korean President: Trump ‘should win the Nobel Peace Prize’

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that President Trump deserves to win a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in talks to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and end the decades-long war between the North and South.

EXCLUSIVE –  A group of 18 Republican lawmakers have signed their names to a letter formally nominating President Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize — the latest development in a growing push to award the president the honor for his work toward peace in the Korean Peninsula.

The letter, sent by Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind. to the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Tuesday, and signed by 17 other members, says Trump has worked “tirelessly to apply maximum pressure to North Korea to end its illicit weapons programs and bring peace to the region.”   

“His Administration successfully united the international community, including China, to impose one of the most successful international sanctions regimes in history,” the letter says. “The sanctions have decimated the North Korean economy and have been largely credited for bringing North Korea to the negotiating table.”

The letter is signed by 17 other members, including Reps Mark Meadows, R-N.C., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Diane Black, R-Tenn., and Steve King, R-Iowa.

“Although North Korea has evaded demands from the international community to cease its aggression for decades, President Trump’s peace through strength policies are working and bringing peace to the Korean peninsula,” the letter says. “We can think of no one more deserving of the Committee’s recognition in 2019 than President Trump for his tireless work to bring peace to our world.”

5.2.18 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Letter by Fox News on Scribd

The nomination is for the 2019 prize, as the 2018 award nomination period ended in February. According to the Nobel Prize’s website, a nomination is considered valid if submitted by persons in certain categories — including “members of national assemblies and national governments (cabinet members/ministers) of sovereign states as well as current heads of state.” There are 330 candidates for the 2018 prize, which will be announced in October.

Messer, who is currently locked in a Republican primary battle to challenge incumbent Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in this year’s midterm, announced his intention to nominate Trump last week and floated the idea of the prize in March.

“The only reason the North Korean dictator is coming to the table is because President Trump has stared him down and shown him that we have a leader in America who means business and who has changed the dynamic in major ways,” Messer told Fox News. “That’s why I think he has to be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize.”

The move for an award for Trump has picked up steam since the dramatic developments in relation to North Korea, which has seen the leaders of North and South Korea meet in person for a summit where the two discussed denuclearization and declared a formal end to the Korean War. The North Korean regime has also said it will end its nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile testing program.

In a rally in Michigan at the weekend, Trump touted progress in North Korea and was interrupted by supporters chanting: “No-bel, No-bel, No-bel.”

An award would likely be controversial among many peace activists, who would point to Trump’s fiery language toward North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un — whom he dubbed “rocket man” and warned was on a “suicide mission for himself” in 2017. But supporters say that Trump’s tactics were part of a “peace through strength” approach of the kind that proved successful for President Ronald Reagan when he faced down the Soviet Union.

“The peace through strength approach to national security is delivering results, not just in North Korea,” Messer said. “ISIS is on the run and I think the world is waking up to the fact that there’s a new sheriff in town and the world’s most important leader today is Donald Trump.”

The push for Trump to get the prize was given a big boost when South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Trump should get the prize.

Does Trump deserve Nobel Prize for efforts with North Korea?

“President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize,” Moon reportedly told a meeting of senior secretaries, according to Reuters. “What we need is only peace.”

Earlier this year, Moon praised Trump’s role in brokering an end to the crisis, noting he “deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks,” and said “it could be a resulting work of the U.S.-led sanctions and pressure.”

For many U.S. conservatives, it would also work to rectify the controversial 2009 decision by the committee to award the honor to President Barack Obama at a time when he had only just taken office and had not had a chance to rack up any foreign policy achievements.

The committee chose to award it to Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” and specifically for his “vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.” 

But the decision was widely criticized, and even Obama in his acceptance speech noted that other past recipients were “far more deserving of this honor than I.” Obama struggled to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula, and Trump said recently that Obama told him during the transition that it would be his “biggest problem” in terms of foreign policy.

“If the Nobel Peace Prize means anything, President Trump should have a great shot at getting it,” Messer said. “After all President Obama received it for little more than running a glamorous campaign for president. Trump has shown major steps toward delivering peace.”

Presidents Jimmy Carter, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt have also been honored with the award. In 2007, former Vice President Al Gore was given the award alongside the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for their work on climate change.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also offered his possible support for a Trump Nobel prize on Sunday, saying on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that if things work out, Trump deserves the award.

“President Trump, if he can lead us to ending the Korean War after 70 years and getting North Korea to give up their nuclear program in a verifiable way deserves the Nobel Peace Prize and then some,” Graham said.

Graham: If the Korean War ends, Trump deserves Nobel Prize

However, he also recognized just how controversial such an award would be among Trump opponents.

“It may be the first time the Nobel Peace Prize was given and there was mass casualties because I think a lot of liberals would kill themselves if they did that,” he joked.

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10+ Times Pets Brought Their Owners The Most Unexpected Gifts

Dogs and cats may not be able to verbally express their gratitude to us, but they do have one thing going for them – they are amazing gift-givers. Who doesn’t

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Obama wall around house: Trump’s claims are a surprise to neighbors – The Washington Post


The Obamas’ home on Belmont Street in the Kalorama neighborhood of Northwest D.C. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

In one of his most recent arguments for a southern border wall, President Trump on Sunday falsely claimed that the Washington home of former president Barack Obama and Michelle Obama is surrounded by a 10-foot wall.

Trump’s tweet comes in the midst of a partial government shutdown, which was spurred Dec. 22 by Trump’s demand for $5 billion in funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. He alleged that the “wall” around the Obamas’ mansion was necessary for the former first couple’s “safety and security,” adding that the United States needs a “slightly larger version!”

Trump’s assertion came as a surprise to two of the Obamas’ neighbors Monday, who told The Washington Post that there is no such wall. The 8,200-square-foot structure, despite several security features, is completely visible from the street.

A neighbor, a longtime resident of the area who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve their privacy, said Trump “has a very active imagination.”

“There’s a fence that goes along the front of the house, but it’s the same as the other neighbors have,” the neighbor said. “It’s tastefully done.”


Movers, under the supervision of White House ushers, move the Obama family’s belongings into a house in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington on Jan. 17, 2017. (Cliff Owen/AP)

The former president and first lady purchased the nine-bedroom mansion for $8.1 million in 2017, The Post previously reported. It’s located in the affluent D.C. neighborhood of Kalorama, which is also home to Ivanka Trump and Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, who owns The Post. Previous residents of the neighborhood have included former presidents Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover.

TMZ reported on construction to the residence in 2017 before the Obamas moved in, which the website also characterized as “a wall.”

As The Post’s Fact Checker notes, the Obamas added security fencing to a retaining wall in front of the home (it is not a compound) for the needs of the Secret Service. A guard booth was built, and fencing was added to the back.

In trying to make the case for a high concrete border wall, Trump exaggerates about the Obama house in Washington, D.C. It is an 8,200 square foot Tudor-style home in the Kalorama residential area, but it is not a “compound.” The Obamas added security fencing to an enlarged retaining wall in front for the needs of the Secret Service but there is not a ten-foot wall around the house; the front steps are open to the sidewalk. Chain link fencing, but no wall, was added to the back. While Trump says the border wall would be a “slightly larger version” of the alleged Obama wall, he has previously described his proposed wall as 1,000 miles long, made of precast concrete slabs, rising 35 to 40 feet in the air.

Washington Post Fact Checker

Some found the president’s tweet irresponsible. Fred Guttenberg, the father of one of students killed in the Parkland school shooting, tweeted, “Are you seriously trying to put our former President at risk?”

The Secret Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s tweet and security risks Monday morning.

A spokesman for the Obamas declined to comment on Trump’s tweet, and the White House did not respond to an email requesting more context on Trump’s claim that there is a wall around the property.

Another neighbor said the Obamas’ home is “100 percent visible from the street.”

“There is no 10-foot wall in the front, back or sides of the house — and no wall is going up,” the person said.

An editor at The Post who went to the residence Monday morning noted that part of the street was blocked off — neighbors say there are security checkpoints at either end of the street — but confirmed that a wall was not visible from their vantage point, either.

Trump continued to tweet about his proposed wall Monday morning, criticizing Democrats for rejecting the idea. The Senate approved a stopgap funding measure in late December that did not contain wall money but would have kept the government open until Feb. 8.

“They say it’s old technology – but so is the wheel,” Trump wrote.” They now say it is immoral- but it is far more immoral for people to be dying!”

Paul Schwartzman and Jessica Stahl contributed to this report.

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Post Malone Pranks People With Undercover Record Store Surprise!

Post Malone goes undercover as an aspiring hip-hop artist. He workshops lyrics, talks about Bentleys and surprises fans—all to support his Omaze campaign where you could ride with him in a Bentley and win your own! Posted By PSmooth

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Dude Has A Surprise Threesome With A Couple In A Bathroom!

Dude Has A Surprise Threesome With A Couple In A Bathroom. Posted By Ghost

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