Trump says Saudi Arabia has 'already deposited $1billion in the bank' to keep American troops on its soil
Former GOP Congressman Justin Amash lashed out at the president saying, he is treating American troops as 'mercenaries' after Trump claimed South Korea too made such payments in exchange for the deployment of American troops on its soil
US President Donald Trump on Friday, January 10, claimed that Washington's Middle East ally Saudi Arabia has "already deposited $1billion in the bank" to ensure the presence of American troops on its soil.
The president, who often lambasts the US' allies with the usual, they never pay well to get America’s aid in security affairs, said that Riyadh has paid Washington a hefty amount to get its troops' service in an exclusive interview on Fox News.
Speaking to host Laura Ingraham, Trump said: "We have a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia. I said listen, you’re a very rich country. Do you want more troops? I’m going to send them to you, but you’ve got to pay us." He then added that the kingdom has already deposited a billion dollars in the bank.
South Korea also paid the US $500 million to defend them against North Korea
Trump further went on to say that another ally, South Korea has also paid his country $500 million to defend them against neighboring foe North Korea.
“South Korea gave us $500 million… I said: 'You gotta help us along. We have 32,000 soldiers in South Korea protecting you from North Korea. You’ve gotta pay'," Trump said.
On the question of pulling US troops out of Iraq, something the Middle Eastern nation is insisting since the assassination of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani, Trump said Baghdad should pay Washington back for all the investments it made there over the past several years or else, the American troops will continue to remain there.
When Ingraham asked the president how he planned to collect money from Iraq, he replied saying: "Well, we have a lot of their money right now. We have a lot of their money. We have $35 billion of their money right now sitting in an account. I think they’ll agree to pay. Otherwise, we’ll stay there."
Trump's words on Saudi Arabia ignited a controversy. Former Republican Congressman Justin Amash from Michigan who left the GOP last year on grounds of opposing Trump lashed out at the latter and accused him of selling troops.
"He sells troops," the independent lawmaker said in a tweet. Trump's claims of countries hosting US bases paying Washington’s treasury were not verified though. Pentagon did not clarify the remarks on Sunday when sought after by Daily Mail.
Amash further said that Trump was not fulfilling his promise of bringing back American troops from wars abroad and were rather using them as “mercenaries” in lieu of money.
In October, the king and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia approved the deployment of additional American troops and equipment following an attack on the country’s oil facilities in September.
As Saudi’s relations with regional foe Iran soured, the US announced the deployment of about 5,000 troops to Saudi, including fighter squadrons and air defense personnel.
Even in the aftermath of the assassination of top Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani, Washington sent nearly 3,000 additional troops to the Middle East from the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to make the security of its forces in the region stronger.
In the past, Trump has been seen accusing the US' allies in Nato of not contributing enough funds to get the military platform going and were gaining at Washington's expense.