Turkey expects ‘concrete steps’ from US on cleric’s return

ISTANBUL – Turkey's foreign minister is expressing impatience with the United States for not extraditing a cleric whom the Turkish government alleges masterminded a failed 2016 coup. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during Sunday that Turkey has demanded the return of 84 suspects from the U.S., including Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. The cleric lives in … Continue reading “Turkey expects ‘concrete steps’ from US on cleric’s return”

ISTANBUL – Turkey's foreign minister is expressing impatience with the United States for not extraditing a cleric whom the Turkish government alleges masterminded a failed 2016 coup.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during Sunday that Turkey has demanded the return of 84 suspects from the U.S., including Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. The cleric lives in Pennsylvania and has denied orchestrating the coup attempt.

Speaking during a trip to Qatar, Cavusoglu says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed Gulen's status on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina two weeks ago.

The minister said: "When we met in Buenos Aires, President Trump told Erdogan that they have been working on that, but we need to see concrete steps because it has been already more than 2 years."

Trump joins Wreaths Across America in laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery

President Trump paid a Saturday visit to Arlington National Cemetery, where thousands of volunteers had just taken part in the rain in the annual holiday wreath-laying tribute to those who served—and died– in America’s wars.

Trump made the unscheduled stop to the famous military ceremony about 2:15 p.m. ET, hours after the event began.

"They do a great job, a really great job. Thank you," Trump said during the visit.

Every December, Wreaths Across America places wreaths on the graves at Arlington and other veterans cemeteries.

“Spending a rainy Saturday morning helping with Wreaths Across America at Arlington!!” Jessica Moyer told her followers on Facebook. “Such a humbling experience.”

Last year more than 75,000 volunteers placed wreaths at 245,000 Arlington gravesites.

This year, the organization shipped a staggering 1.75 million wreaths to 1,640 locations that will hold ceremonies across the U.S., according to the Pentagon.

WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA FACES SHORTAGE OF WREATHS FOR ARLINGTON CEMETERY

A few dozen locations overseas are participating. Wreaths Across America says 2018 is the first year permission was granted to place wreaths at Normandy to honor those who died during World War II’s D-Day invasion.

The Wreaths Across America caravan departed Columbia Falls, Maine, where the wreaths were made on Dec. 8 for the journey to Arlington.

"We know that for a Gold Star Family member, every day is Memorial Day for them and we understand that at the holidays, it's an especially difficult time with an empty seat at the table all year round,” Bre Kingsbury of Wreaths Across America said, according to Fox 5 DC.

TRUMP, PENCE MISS VETERANS DAY OBSERVANCE AT ARLINGTON CEMETERY

“The holidays, it can be especially tough. So that wreath really is a symbol that shows them that they are not forgotten and that their loved one is not forgotten," she said.

This is the event’s 27th year at Arlington, honoring the men and women who've served in the U.S. armed forces.

Family of migrant girl disputes official story on her death

The family of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in U.S. Border Patrol custody is disputing an account from U.S. officials who said she had not been given food or water for days.

In a statement released by lawyers, the parents of Jakelin Caal said the girl had been given food and water and appeared to be in good health as she traveled through Mexico with her father, 29-year-old Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz. The family added that Jakelin had not been traveling through the desert for days before she was taken into custody.

Tekandi Paniagua, the Guatemalan consul in Del Rio, Texas, told The Associated Press that he spoke with the Jakelin's father. The consul said Nery Caal told him the group they were traveling with was dropped off in Mexico about a 90-minute walk from the border.

Border Patrol officials did not immediately respond to the family's comments.

The family's statement was released Saturday during a news conference in El Paso, Texas, at an immigrant shelter where Jakelin's father is staying. Her family did not attend and has asked for privacy.

Jakelin and her father were seeking asylum in the U.S. and were among a large group of migrants arrested Dec. 6 near a remote border crossing in New Mexico. Hours later they were placed on a bus to the nearest Border Patrol station, but Jakelin began vomiting and eventually stopped breathing. She later died at a Texas hospital.

Border Patrol officials on Friday said agents did everything they could to save the girl but that she had not had food or water for days. They added that an initial screening showed no evidence of health problems, and that her father had signed a form indicating she was in good health.

But the family took issue with that form, which was in English, a language her father doesn't speak or read. He communicated with border agents in Spanish but he primarily speaks the Mayan Q'eqchi' language.

"It is unacceptable for any government agency to have persons in custody sign documents in a language that they clearly do not understand," the statement said.

Jakelin's family is urging authorities to conduct an "objective and thorough" investigation into the death and to determine whether officials met standards for the arrest and custody of children.

A cause of death has not yet been released. A private prayer service was held in Texas on Friday so her father could see Jakelin's body before it is taken to Guatemala, said Ruben Garcia, director of the Annunciation House shelter where her father is staying.

"All of us were moved by the depth of his faith and his trust that God's hand is in all of this," Garcia said.

Family members in Guatemala said Caal decided to migrate with his favorite child to earn money he could send back home. Jakelin's mother and three siblings remained in San Antonio Secortez, a village of about 420 inhabitants.

Wreaths Across America holds holiday wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery

Thousands of volunteers gathered at Arlington National Cemetery Saturday for the annual holiday wreath-laying event that pays tribute to those who served—and died– in America’s wars.

Every December, Wreaths Across America places wreaths on the graves at Arlington and other veterans cemeteries.

“Spending a rainy Saturday morning helping with Wreaths Across America at Arlington!!” Jessica Moyer told her followers on Facebook. “Such a humbling experience.”

Last year more than 75,000 volunteers placed wreaths at 245,000 Arlington gravesites.

This year, the organization shipped a staggering 1.75 million wreaths to 1,640 locations that will hold ceremonies across the U.S., according to the Pentagon.

WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA FACES SHORTAGE OF WREATHS FOR ARLINGTON CEMETERY

A few dozen locations overseas are participating. Wreaths Across America says 2018 is the first year permission was granted to place wreaths at Normandy to honor those who died during World War II’s D-Day invasion.

The Wreaths Across America caravan departed Columbia Falls, Maine, where the wreaths were made on Dec. 8 for the journey to Arlington.

"We know that for a Gold Star Family member, every day is Memorial Day for them and we understand that at the holidays, it's an especially difficult time with an empty seat at the table all year round,” Bre Kingsbury of Wreaths Across America said, according to Fox 5 DC.

TRUMP, PENCE MISS VETERANS DAY OBSERVANCE AT ARLINGTON CEMETERY

“The holidays, it can be especially tough. So that wreath really is a symbol that shows them that they are not forgotten and that their loved one is not forgotten," she said.

This is the event’s 27th year at Arlington, honoring the men and women who've served in the U.S. armed forces.

Former decorated Green Beret, after years of investigations, charged in death of suspected Taliban bomb maker

A former Green Beret who told Fox News in 2016 that he killed a suspected Taliban bomb maker nearly a decade ago during combat operations in Afghanistan is now being charged in the man’s death — a move his lawyer says is an act of betrayal by the Army.

The murder charge facing Maj. Matthew Golsteyn comes after years of on-and-off investigations by the Army following an incident said to have taken place during his 2010 deployment. A military tribunal that probed the killing years ago initially cleared Golsteyn — but the investigation into him was re-opened after he spoke to Fox News' Bret Baier.

“I think he’s been betrayed,” his attorney, Phillip Stackhouse, told Fox News on Friday when asked how the Army has treated Golsteyn.

The once-decorated soldier, who had been on voluntary excess leave amid the latest investigation, has been living in a newly bought home with his wife and a 2-month-old baby in Virginia, working for the International Association of Firefighters, Stackhouse said.

Golsteyn was informed of the murder charge earlier this week after being ordered back into active duty.

“They have insinuated to me that they have new evidence,” Stackhouse told Fox News. “I don’t believe there is any new evidence at all.”

Golsteyn, in 2010, had been deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Special Forces Group. Two Marines in his unit during that time in the Battle of Marja ended up getting killed by booby-trapped explosives hidden in the area.

Golsteyn and his men later found a suspected Taliban bomb maker nearby — though he was not on a list of targets U.S. forces were cleared to kill, Fox News previously has reported. After he was detained, Golsteyn said the man refused to talk to investigators.

Under the rules of engagement, Golsteyn was ordered to release him.

However, Golsteyn was concerned that if he did so, the suspect would have in turn targeted Afghans who were helping U.S. soldiers.

“There’s limits on how long you can hold guys,” he told Fox News' Bret Baier in 2016. “You realize quickly that you make things worse. It is an inevitable outcome that people who are cooperating with coalition forces, when identified, will suffer some terrible torture or be killed.”

Golsteyn told Fox News he killed him. Two years later, he is facing the murder charge.

“Major Matthew Golsteyn's immediate commander has determined that sufficient evidence exists to warrant the preferral of charges against him,” U.S. Army Special Operations Command spokesman Lt. Col. Loren Bymer told Fox News in a statement Friday. “Major Golsteyn has been charged with the murder of an Afghan male during his 2010 deployment to Afghanistan.”

The first Army investigation was undertaken after Golsteyn disclosed details of the incident during a polygraph test when he was interviewing for a job with the CIA in 2011.

Golsteyn, according to Army documents obtained by the Washington Post, reportedly told the CIA something that Stackhouse disputes – that he took the suspected bomb maker off base, shot him and buried his remains in a shallow grave before returning to the site to dig up the remains and burn them in a pit used to dispose of trash.

Stackhouse told Fox News the suspected bomb maker was released and later killed during combat operations in Marja.

Golsteyn, who had been awarded the Silver Star, the military’s third-highest award for combat valor, was initially accused of murder and conspiracy. But following the lengthy initial investigation by a military tribunal, no formal charges were filed.

Instead, Golsteyn was removed from the Special Forces and had his Silver Star taken away.

As for the latest case, Stackhouse says: “we will be relentless in defending him.”

Fox News’ Barnini Chakraborty and Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.

U.S. Navy offers what Venezuelan regime can’t: Urgent health care

BOGOTA, Colombia – It’s a softer face of U.S. military service not often shown to the world: Sailors and medical personnel spending weeks on-end to treat those fleeing starvation, poverty, oppression, and fear – in some of the most desperate corners of the world.

And so while the Venezuelan government continues to deny and downplay the horrific humanitarian and economic crisis plaguing what was once the richest country in Latin America, a floating U.S. Navy hospital, USNS Comfort, is alleviating some of the burden on nations neighboring Venezuela

The assignment is “Enduring Promise 2018, which began when this ship departed the Navy base in Norfolk, Va., in early October. "We have treated approximately 20,000 patients,” Ensign Cody L. Keim, Public Affairs Officer, told Fox News en route to Honduras, amid the final stretch of the eleven-week mission. “If we follow the current trend of patient care, we expect to treat and serve just over 25,000 patients in total before we begin our voyage home.”

(Navy Public Affairs Support Element East)

The team has so far provided humanitarian medical assistance to the partner nations of Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia – and soon Honduras. And while migrants receiving treatment are believed to be mostly from Venezuela and Colombia, the U.S. personnel don’t question patient's immigration status.

“It is our philosophy to provide quality care to those in need, therefore we do not ask about their migration status," Keim said. "We want every individual that comes to us seeking treatment to know that they will be treated to the same standard, with the highest level of respect, which we would provide to our own family members."

CRUELTY OF EL CHAPO'S SINALOA CARTEL KNOWS NO BOUNDS: BEHEADINGS BY CHAINSAW, BODY PARTS STREWN IN THE STREETS

As a non-combatant vessel, the Comfort is without offensive heavy weapons. But it is equipped with everything from a dental suite to four x-ray machines to an optometric lab, and carries thousands of blood packs. Care is available on board, as well as land-based sites.

According to Lt. Thomas Driscoll, Director of Medical Operations and Planning (DMOP), while they have several advertised services – from general medicine, dental and optometry to women’s health, dermatology, radiology, and surgical services – it is often the psychological relief that is most valuable.

BURMA DOUBLES DOWN ON CLAIMS TO JUSTIFY TREATMENT OF ROHINGYA MINORITY

Ensign Kimberly Hill, from Phoenix, Ariz., takes the vitals of a patient during a medical screening at one of two medical sites. (Winterlyn J Patterson Navy Public Affairs Support Element East)

“Often it was the first time patients were able to cry and get relief from mental health concerns or worries they have had for family members that had traveled to be seen,” he noted. “We have found that migrants would utilize bus services or find transportation in order to travel several hours to days away.”

And for the most pressing cases, there are four helicopters on board, to transport patients. The service personnel at the medical sites also work in partnership with regional ministries of health, to identify and transport more serious medical conditions.

“Some of these conditions included untreated skin infections that had a high potential for sepsis, symptomatic congenital defects, newborn malnutrition/dehydration as well as symptomatic heart failure, stroke symptoms and myocardial infarction,” said Lt. Tatiana Crosby, Medical Site Nurse Manager. “The medical team quickly identified these conditions and ensured diagnosis and recommendations for care were translated and communicated with the ambulance services as well as the ministry of health representatives.”

Many hear about the services through word of mouth or a local news stor. And after years of suffering, the responses can be overwhelming.

“As patients would arrive at our side of the medical site after being triaged, the nurses, corpsmen and I would control patient flow and escort them throughout the rest of their visit at the med site,” explained Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Anthony Genuino, Leading Petty Officer for the Directorate of Nursing Services. “One patient’s reaction sticks with me as she cried as I helped her check out.  She gave me a big hug as she was crying on my chest.”

Cmdr. Ryan Griswold, from Madison, Iowa, examines a patient for health issues at one of two medical sites. (Spc. Joseph DeLuco Navy Public Affairs Support Element East)

Some patients have even offered their own services in return. Driscoll told the story of a migrant who had traveled from the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.

“His name was Louis, and spoke wonderful English. After his treatment, he sought me out to ask if there was a way he could help the following day. Translation services are a service it seems we never have enough of,” Driscoll recounted. “We were able to utilize his help the next day to speak with the crowd to become more organized and identify needs of the population at our gates with his help. Speaking with Louis I found that just the ability to help his people in this way was very healing for his soul.”

The medical support mission to Central and South America is a component of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative, a partnership that began in June 2007 with the goal to provide healthcare services to communities in need.

The United Nations has called the Venezuelan crisis the worst to ever strike Latin America. And the country’s healthcare system has collapsed over the past three years, with next to no medicines and care available, prompting an exodus of millions from all walks of life.

“I have noticed malnutrition and parasite treatment as the number one medical need for those who have identified as migrants from Venezuelan,” Driscoll noted.

But the Chavista government, led by Nicolas Maduro, has rebuffed international assertions that the country is in failure, and instead blame the economic hardships on U.S. sanctions and political opponents intent on waging “economic war.” Most aren’t buying that argument.

The Venezuelan government might have its suspicions about the role of the U.S. here. But it “absolutely a humanitarian mission. We are not sending soldiers, we are sending doctors,” Defense Secretary James Mattis stated in August, when announcing the Comfort’s deployment. “And it’s an effort to deal with the human cost of Maduro and his increasingly isolated regime.”

The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) is anchored off the coast of Colombia to offer medical treatment aboard the ship and at a land-based medical site. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Kris Lindstrom Navy Public Affairs Support Element East)

For many serving in the U.S. military, providing such assistance is an honor. “My biggest takeaway from this mission is the pride from knowing that the United States and our partners have such a strong relationship that we have the ability to respond quickly and help a large population in dire need,” Driscoll said. “After this mission, I have no doubt our partners would respond just as quick to the needs of Americans in the case tragedy on our shores.”

For the people being treated, it’s often the small moments that count.

“From a simple pair of glasses or a new walking cane to a more complex abdominal wall closure surgery, it was evident that our mission had a great impact on the lives,” Crosby added. “The gratitude from our patients transcended the language barriers as we received hugs, or strong handshakes and even handwritten letters of their appreciation. Everyone on-board will be able to return home with a feeling of pride and accomplishment that they were able to touch the lives of those we cared for and make a difference.”

And home just in time for Christmas.

U.S. Navy Capt. Kevin Buss (left), director, nursing services, and Lt. Joseph Crossman, a midwife from Chesapeake, Va., participate in an advanced cardiac life support certification course in the intensive care unit aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). (Courtesy Navy Public Affairs Support Element East)

Hollie McKay has a been a Fox News Digital staff reporter since 2007. She has extensively reported from war zones including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Burma and investigates global conflicts, war crimes and terrorism around the world. Follow her on twitter and Instagram @holliesmckay

Russia claims US ignoring outreach on nuclear disagreement

MOSCOW – Russia wants to sit down with Pentagon officials for "open and specific" talks on alleged violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, the Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday.

The U.S. claims Russia is violating the INF treaty, and on Dec. 4 issued an ultimatum that Moscow come into compliance with the accord in 60 days, or else Washington will withdraw. Russia denies it's in breach of the treaty.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu sent his counterpart, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, a proposal for launching a dialogue three days ago, according to a statement Saturday.

But Russia says it hasn't received any official reply from the Pentagon, which spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said proves that the U.S. is unwilling to maintain professional dialogue with Moscow on security issues.

On Friday, the Russian mission to the U.N. submitted a draft resolution calling for the international community to support the INF treaty against Washington's threat of withdrawal, warning that a collapse of the treaty could undermine nuclear arms control across the board.

Washington began sounding off on a potential Russian violation of the INF treaty under President Barack Obama.

Under President Donald Trump, those allegations have been specified and coupled with threats of unilateral withdrawal from the landmark 1987 arms agreement, which banned an entire class of ground-launched missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,000 kilometers (310-3,100 miles).

The U.S. claims that a new Russian missile, designated by NATO as the SSC-8, operates in ranges forbidden by the INF treaty. Russia has strongly and routinely denied the claim, at times throwing accusations of non-compliance back at Washington.

These claims have, at times, focused on U.S. deployment of anti-missile systems in Romania and Poland. Moscow takes specific issue with the U.S. Mk-41 vertical launching system used by these missile defense installations.

The Mk-41, derived from the U.S. Navy's Aegis missile system, can launch a variety of American missiles — including the sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missile, a weapon that would be banned by INF were it deployed on a ground-based launcher.

INF not only bans ground-based intermediate-range missiles, but their launchers too. And Moscow has seized on this point to claim the U.S. is responsible for destabilizing the INF treaty.

No. 2 House Republican: Gov’t shutdown ‘stupid’, may happen

WASHINGTON – A looming, partial government shutdown would be "stupid" but might be unavoidable if Democrats refuse to support President Donald Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico, the second-ranking House Republican said on Thursday.

Even if Republicans assemble enough votes to approve the wall in the House, the plan probably will fail in the Senate, said Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. The House majority leader noted that Senate Democrats have pledged to block the bill from receiving the necessary 60 votes.

McCarthy said on the House floor that he thinks "going into a shutdown is stupid," but he offered no immediate plan before the Dec. 21 deadline. The House adjourned for six days soon after his remarks.

McCarthy's comments put him at odds with Trump, who said this week that he would be "proud to shut down the government" in the name of border security.

"I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down," Trump said Tuesday at a contentious White House meeting with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

Trump kept up the pressure Thursday, saying in a video released by the White House that Schumer and other Democrats were once in favor of border barriers, but now oppose them because of Trump.

Calling Democrats "absolute hypocrites," Trump said, "They only don't want to do it because of me. They have to put the people ahead of politics."

Trump's insistence on the wall — and his willingness to shoulder blame for shutting the government — have made it difficult for Republican leaders to negotiate even as they try to avoid a shutdown that neither party wants.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate's No 2 Republican, said he does not understand Trump's strategy. "Maybe he's figured it out and he'll tell us in due course, but I don't understand it," Cornyn told The Washington Post.

Pelosi, who talked with Trump briefly by telephone after the televised Oval Office session, said Thursday that Trump's embrace of a shutdown was unfortunate.

"Perhaps he doesn't understand people need their paychecks. Maybe that's not the life he leads," she said about the wealthy former Manhattan real estate developer.

"It's not enough to say, 'We'll pay you in January,' when people have to make ends meet in December," Pelosi said.

Pelosi and other Democrats said there is strong, bipartisan support to keep the government open. "The only obstacle is the president of the United States," she said, adding that she and Schumer were not negotiating with Trump on the wall request.

Democrats have offered $1.3 billion for border security that includes fencing and other technology, but not a concrete wall. "We're not going to $5 billion for the wall. We simply are not," she said.

Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Republicans will be responsible if a shutdown happens. He noted that the GOP controls the House, Senate and the White House; Democrats will take power in the House in January.

Hoyer and other Democrats said Republicans should approve six of the remaining seven appropriations bills needed to keep the government open, and pass a separate measure covering the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through Sept. 30. Homeland Security would be responsible for building the wall along the border with Mexico.

"It's clear we do not have agreement on the Homeland Security appropriations bill," Hoyer said, but lawmakers from both parties agree on six other spending bills.

"Wouldn't that make sense for the American people for us to pass the 95 percent on which we have reached agreement after hard work all year?" Hoyer asked in floor remarks directed at McCarthy. "And on that which we can't agree, (lawmakers should) agree that we can't agree and fight that another day," Hoyer said.

Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 3 House Republican, said his party would fight for Trump's $5 billion request, but he also encouraged bipartisan talks to continue.

"The issue has always been what the Senate can or can't do, and that's why the president is involved in the negotiations," Scalise said.

If the two sides do not make a deal by Dec. 21, about one-quarter of the government will be affected, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks.

___

Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.

Russia says it’s willing to keep key arms treaty with US

MOSCOW – A top Russian diplomat says Moscow is willing to preserve a landmark arms treaty with the United States.

The remarks by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov came after the U.S. officially announced last week that it would suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Treaty (INF) in 60 days, accusing Russia and China — which is not a signatory to the treaty — of violating it.

Ryabkov said in a statement Thursday that Moscow is "leaving the door open" for the U.S. to discuss how to keep the treaty in place.

He also said that U.S. officials have still not explained to Russia what is meant by suspending their obligations. He reiterated Russia's denials that it had ever tested or produced missiles that would be in violation of the treaty.

Melania Trump makes first lady history with ride in Osprey

HAMPTON, Va. – Melania Trump made history Wednesday by flying in a V-22 Osprey aircraft and onto the deck of an aircraft carrier.

The White House says it's the first time a first lady has flown in an Osprey. The tiltrotor aircraft takes off and lands vertically. Mrs. Trump flew from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington to Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia, and onto the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush and back.

She later tweeted about her "incredible flight" and visit with service members.

In Virginia, Mrs. Trump checked out the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet and addressed service members, noting that many had recently returned from deployment. Some had responded to such natural disasters as Hurricane Michael, which devastated some Florida Panhandle communities.

"I'm honored to be able to say welcome home and thank you for answering the call of duty," she said. "I have said this before, but it's worth repeating. We know that we are free because you're brave. And I speak on behalf of my husband when I tell you we are forever grateful for your service."

The first lady exchanged high-fives with elementary schoolchildren and posed for selfies with some of those in military garb. She also spent time with the crew aboard the USS George H.W. Bush and toured part of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier named after the former president, who died in November.

In an interview with Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity aboard the carrier, Mrs. Trump said the hardest part of being first lady was dealing with "the opportunists who are using my name or my family name to advance themselves — from comedians, to journalists, to performers, book writers."

She said, "The problem is they're writing history and it's not correct."

Mrs. Trump's stops at a pair of military bases Wednesday came during an unusually busy week of public appearances for the first lady.

It was her second day in a row at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. Mrs. Trump visited a different area of the base Tuesday to support an annual toy drive sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

On Thursday, she planned to continue a decades-old tradition of first ladies reading to patients at Children's National hospital in Washington.

___

Superville reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Ben Finley in Norfolk, Virginia, contributed to this report.