Fact check: Photos do not show presidents with troops on Thanksgiving eve 

Social media users have been sharing photographs of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump and claiming that while the first three visited American soldiers on Thanksgiving eve, Trump chose to play golf instead.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Examples can be seen  here  and  here  .  

One post’s description reads: “A photographic retrospective of how our last 4 presidents spent Thanksgiving Eve.”

The post shows photographs of Presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama with United States troops and one of President Donald J. Trump playing golf.


A very similar photograph of Clinton can be seen  here  . He is wearing the same jacket as the photograph in the claim. The photograph is dated Jan. 13, 1996.  

The description of the photograph reads: “President William Jefferson Clinton, while visiting Tuzla AB, Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operation Joint Endeavor, greets the deployed troops”.

Another photograph from the same visit can be seen  here  . The description explains that President Clinton was visiting United States troops deployed to “Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Hungary as part of the NATO Implementation Force (IFOR) in Operation Joint Endeavor.”  

The photograph in the claim was not taken on Thanksgiving eve. President Clinton did visit Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo around Thanksgiving time on Nov. 23, 1999, according to a NATO blog  here  and can be seen in a photograph featured in a The Atlantic story  here  . 


The photograph of President Bush appears on the U.S. Department of Defense website  here  . Another angle of the same scene can be seen  here  . The photograph is dated July 24, 2001 and was taken in Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo.  

The description reads: “President George W. Bush shakes hands with American soldiers during his visit to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo on July 24, 2001. Bush is visiting the Task Force Falcon soldiers to show support for the troops in Kosovo.”

The photograph was not taken on Thanksgiving eve, although Bush did spend Thanksgiving at Camp David in 2001  here  and visited troops in Iraq on Nov, 27, 2003  here  ,  here  and  here  .  


The photograph of President Obama with troops can be seen featured by U.S. News and World Report  here  (photo 13 of 20 in the slideshow).  

The photograph was taken on May 25, 2014 at the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Remarks made by Obama at the same event can be seen  here  .  

The photograph was not taken on Thanksgiving eve, but Obama did call troops to thank them for their service and served Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless and veterans on Thanksgiving 2015, according to CNN  here and  here  . 


The photograph of President Trump can be found  here  . It was taken on June 27, 2012 in Bethesda, Maryland.  

The description reads: “Donald Trump tosses a ball while standing on the 14th fairway during a pro-am round of the AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional Country Club, Wednesday, June 27, 2012, in Bethesda, Md.”

The photograph was not taken on Thanksgiving eve, but he did spend some of the day on Thanksgiving 2020 playing golf.

Reuters reported that on Thursday he remained in the Washington area, spending part of the morning at his Trump National Golf Club in Virginia where he played a round of golf (here).  

Trump also spoke to members of the military and thanked them for their service from the White House via video (here). Trump’s remarks can be seen  here  . 

In 2019, he made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Thanksgiving eve to visit troops ( here  and  here  ).   

Each president has spent Thanksgiving time differently by offering various acts of service, as detailed by The Atlantic  here  . Trump visited troops on Thanksgiving in 2019. The coronavirus pandemic may have had a bearing on plans for 2020. 


Partly false. None of the photographs shown were taken on Thanksgiving eve. While President Trump did play golf on Thanksgiving Day in 2020, he also spoke to members of the military and thanked them for their service.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .