Donald Trump has had a strange relationship with Saudi Arabia. Both Democrats and Republicans are wary of the Saudi crown and in December of 2018, voted to rebuke the country over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. The President, however, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner maintain a strong relationship with Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Trump talked about the relationship during a Friday night interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. During the discussion the President bragged about outsourcing American troops to the country for at least $1 billion.
While speaking with Ingraham, Trump said, “Saudi Arabia is paying us for [our troops]. 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 $1 billion in the bank.”
The President also discussed the practice of lending out troops to other nations for cash. He continued, “We are going to help them, but these rich countries have to pay for it. 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.”
One critic of Trump’s practices and words was former Republican, now Independent Congressman Justin Amash. The lawmaker tweeted, “He sells troops.”
He sells troops.
“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
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 11, 2020
Amash has also discussed the practice while appearing on Meet the Press in October. “He’s moving troops back into Iraq, he’s moving other troops into Saudi Arabia and using our forces almost as mercenaries, paid mercenaries who are going to come in, as long as Saudi Arabia pays us some money, it’s good to go,” he said.