President Trump and first lady Melania Trump pose for a photograph as they visit members of the military at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Dec. 26, in a surprise trip to Iraq.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump pose for a photograph as they visit members of the military at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Dec. 26, in a surprise trip to Iraq. Andrew Harnik/AP

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No, U.S. Troops Are Not Getting a 10% Pay Raise

President Trump announced the surprise windfall during a surprise visit to troops in Iraq. But it’s not true.

Perhaps he got carried away in the euphoria of the moment. Or perhaps he was just voicing a wish (it’s the season of wish lists, after all). But when President Trump told U.S. troops during a surprise Christmas visit to Iraq that he was giving them a 10 percent pay raise next year, he was wrong. The troops are getting a 2.6 percent pay raise—Trump signed the law authorizing that raise back in September.

Trump also told the troops: “You haven’t gotten [a raise] in more than 10 years. More than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one.” That also is not true. U.S. troops have received pay raises every year for the last decade, as the Defense Department describes on its website. Last year it was none other than President Trump who signed the law authorizing a 2.1 percent raise for the troops.

It’s also worth noting (since the president brought it up) that troops received considerably higher raises than they will get in January during three of the last 10 years—2008, 2009 and 2010, when they received boosts of 3.5 percent, 3.9 percent and 3.4 percent.

Civilian workers, however, have had far less success in the pay department. From 2011 through 2013, their pay was frozen.

Eric Katz contributed to this report.