President Donald Trump was taken to task by a prominent conservative columnist for his "dangerous" use of the United States military as "props" for partisan political battles.
Jen Rubin, a Washington Post columnist, explained Trump's "highly inappropriate" conduct on MSNBC's "Meet the Press Daily" with guest host Katy Tur on Wednesday.
"Today marks the president's first ever trip to an active war zone, and he did it after facing blistering criticism for not making such a trip earlier, as other presidents have," Tur explained.
"Jennifer, it used to be you that didn't do any politicking while you were abroad -- that used to be the norm," Tur reminded. "We're just taking it for granted now that he'll visit a war zone, like he did today, and trash his political opponents like he did with the shutdown."
"Yeah, this has been a pattern through the campaign and into his presidency where he treats the troops like props," Rubin replied.
"No president in my memory has ever made such political speeches, political slurs, attacks in front of the troops," she explained. "And it's highly inappropriate, of course."
"It converts the troops into a partisan plaything, which is very dangerous and very unusual in American politics," she added.
Rubin wondered if Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin was driving Trump's Middle East foreign policy.
"I do agree he's an isolationist, but the Syria move makes sense if you think he wanted to give Vladimir Putin a big present before the end of the year or he had made a commitment to Vladimir Putin," she suggested.
"Because the powers that benefit from this are number one, Iran, but number two Russia and I cannot help but think that that is related to his very weird, very uncertain relationship with Vladimir Putin, who is benefiting hugely from the chaos in our government, from Trump's foreign policy, from his attacks on our allies -- this is exactly what the Russians have wanted for years," she continued.
"Confusion, chaos, an America that is not willing to stick to its commitments, willing to turn on the Kurds, willing to turn on those that they've made promises to," Rubin said. "So I think part of this has to be his relationship with Russia."