President Donald Trump during a Saturday rally in Wisconsin described a phone call with the leader of Saudi Arabia in which he demanded more money from the oil-rich nation.
“Look, Saudi Arabia, very rich country, we defend them, we subsidize Saudi Arabia. They have nothing but cash, right? We subsidize them. And they buy a lot from us, $450 billion they bought,” Trump began. “You know, You had people wanting to cut off Saudi Arabia. They bought $450 billion. I don’t want to lose ‘em! But the military, we subsidize Saudi Arabia!”
“I called the King,” he continued. “I like the King. I said ‘King, we’re losing our ass defending you, King, and you have a lot of money.’ That’s true. And he said ‘but why would you be calling me, nobody has ever made such a call before.’ I said that’s because they were stupid! So we’re working a deal with Saudi Arabia. So many places. So many places. I tell you what, honestly, it’s easier than collecting $113.57 from a tenant in a bad location in New York City. And it’s safer too.”
Trump’s administration has so far indicated that they would remain a steadfast supporter of the Saudi government, largely due to the fact that the foreign government invests heavily in U.S. companies. (RELATED: The Most Profitable Company In The World Ranked In $111 Billion. It Wasn’t Apple)
The Saudi leadership faced intense scrutiny from press worldwide after it was alleged that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a Saudi embassy by security personnel. Trump reiterated that he stood with the foreign leadership in light of the controversy, stating that “The world is a very dangerous place!”
“If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries — and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!” the president declared at the time.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated the American position on the matter in November.
“Saudi Arabia is working to secure Iraq’s fragile democracy and keep Baghdad tethered to the West’s interests, not Tehran’s,” the secretary of state wrote. “Riyadh is helping manage the flood of refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war by working with host countries, cooperating closely with Egypt, and establishing stronger ties with Israel.”
More recently, the president took issue with the fact that the Saudi state-owned oil company was increasing the price of oil.
“Oil prices getting too high. OPEC, please relax and take it easy. The world cannot take a price hike – fragile!” Trump tweeted February to the Saudi-led coalition, the Organization of the Petroleum Countries.