One week after President Trump accused Saudi Arabia of deliberately conspiring to drive up oil prices during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly, the president stepped up his rhetoric against America's most important strategic ally in the Middle East during a rally in Southaven Mississippi Tuesday night, implying that the US could withdraw the military protection it provides to the kingdom and warning that the Saudi regime that it wouldn't survive for "two weeks" without US support.
In a rebuke that may have been inspired by OPEC's refusal to raise production at the September meeting in Algiers (though Saudi officials have said both on the record and in several reported leaks that they're looking into unilateral cuts) Trump told the crowd that he had warned Saudi Arabia's King Salman that he "might not be there for two weeks without us," adding "you have to pay for your military." Trump's remarks triggered uproarious applause.
"We protect Saudi Arabia. Would you say they're rich. And I love the King, King Salman. But I said 'King - we're protecting you - you might not be there for two weeks without us - you have to pay for your military.'"
Last week's remarks at the UN were only the latest example of Trump's demands that Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC, act to suppress oil prices since they started breaking higher earlier this year. Most of those warnings have come via twitter. At one point, Trump said that Saudi Arabia had agreed as early as June to do more to push oil prices lower.
We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2018
Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference...Prices to high! He has agreed!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2018
Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018
Reports emerged Wednesday morning claiming that Russia and Saudi Arabia had agreed to boost production through December, though Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said during a speech Wednesday morning that he felt the global market was oversupplied.
Watch a clip from the rally below: