“We’re doing very well in Iraq,” Trump said at a reception for all US senators and their spouses in the White House East Room, adding he’d just ended a long phone call with Defense Secretary James Mattis before appearing at the event.

Trump added that “our soldiers are fighting like never before” in Iraq, and praised what he characterized as a positive trajectory in the country.

It wasn’t clear what fighting Trump was referring to in his remarks, which appeared unscripted. The US combat mission in Iraq ended in 2010 and American troops are now in the country primarily to advise and assist Iraqi forces.

During the Iraq War, which began in 2003, US troops engaged in extended fighting across the country, battling an insurgency and later sectarian violence to secure areas in key cities and regions.

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