President Donald Trump used a Thanksgiving Day call to troops deployed overseas to pat himself on the back and air grievances about the courts, trade and migrants heading to the US-Mexico border.
Mr Trump’s call, made from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, struck an unusually political tone as he spoke with members of all five branches of the military to wish them happy holidays.
“It’s a disgrace,” Mr Trump said of judges who have blocked his attempts to overhaul US immigration law, as he linked his efforts to secure the border with military missions overseas.
He later threatened to close the US border with Mexico for an undisclosed period of time if his administration determines its neighbour has lost “control” on its side.
“You really are our heroes,” he said as club waiters worked to set Thanksgiving dinner tables on the outdoor terrace behind him.
“You probably see over the news what’s happening on our southern border,” Mr Trump told one Air Force brigadier general stationed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, adding: “I don’t have to even ask you. I know what you want to do, you want to make sure that you know who we’re letting in.”
Mr Trump also continued to rail against the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which he said has become “a big thorn in our side”.
“It’s a terrible thing,” he said, when judges “tell you how to protect your border”.
He added: “It’s a disgrace.”
Later, Mr Trump asked a US Coast Guard commander about trade, which he noted was “a very big subject” for him personally.
“We’ve been taken advantage of for many, many years by bad trade deals,” Mr Trump told the commander, who sheepishly replied: “We don’t see any issues in terms of trade right now.”
Mr Trump added: “I hope that you’ll take solace in knowing that all of the American families you hold so close to your heart are all doing well.
“The nation’s doing well economically, better than anybody in the world.”
He later told reporters “nobody’s done more for the military than me”.
This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office and you wouldn't believe it and when you see it, we've gotten so much stronger people don't even believe itDonald Trump
Indeed, asked what he was thankful for this Thanksgiving, Trump cited his “great family,” as well as himself.
“I made a tremendous difference in this country,” he said.
“This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office and you wouldn’t believe it and when you see it, we’ve gotten so much stronger people don’t even believe it.”
Mr Trump continued to warn about the situation on the southern border as he took questions from reporters, pointing to the caravans of Central American migrants that have been making their way towards the US.
He said: “If we find that it gets to a level where we lose control or people are going to start getting hurt, we’re going to close entry into the country for a period of time until we get it under control.”