Independent firebrand Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), a longtime critic of the president, has charged Trump with using the US military as private mercenaries. "He sells troops," Amash commented provocatively of Trump's Friday night interview with Fox's Laura Ingraham.
“Saudi Arabia is paying us for [our troops]. We have a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Trump said. “I said, listen, you’re a very rich country. You want more troops? I’m going to send them to you, but you’ve got to pay us. They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1 billion in the bank.”
He sells troops.— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 11, 2020
“We have a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia—I said, listen, you’re a very rich country. You want more troops? I’m going to send them to you, but you’ve got to pay us. They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1B in the bank.” pic.twitter.com/rc1f7heyCP
Following the Sept.14 Aramco facility attacks, which the US blamed on Iran, the US has sent up to 3,000 troops to Saudi Arabia, with likely more to follow after Iran has vowed to continue avenging the death of Qasem Soleimani.
It's unclear in what capacity or with what intent the Saudis may have “deposited $1 billion in the bank” according to Trump's claim. And then there's the question of what bank and under what authorization this supposed exchange happened.
In the same interview Trump went on to describe a similar quid pro quo scenario in play with US troops stationed in South Korea.
It’s crude to pay the US directly to fight your wars for you, the socially accepted process is to fund thinktanks to convince them to https://t.co/B9f9RJaI3y— Aris Roussinos (@arisroussinos) January 11, 2020
He boasts that South Korea pays $500 million to host the tens of thousands of American troops defending the country from North Korea.
Other outlandish moments from the interview included the president again boasting on Syria that, “I took the oil.”
Interestingly, he was attempting to deflect widespread criticism that he's turned hawk after on the campaign trail winning over his base by promises of getting out of the Middle East and "bringing the troops home".
“And then they say ‘he left troops in Syria’, you know what I did? I left troops to take the oil. I took the oil. The only troops I have are taking the oil. They’re protecting the oil. I took over the oil,” Trump boasted.