US President Donald Trump complained on Thursday that US ally Saudi Arabia does not treat the United States fairly and Washington is losing a “tremendous amount of money” defending the kingdom.
In an interview with Reuters, Trump confirmed his administration was in talks about possible visits to Saudi Arabia in the second half of May.
“Frankly, Saudi Arabia has not treated us fairly, because we are losing a tremendous amount of money in defending Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Trump’s criticism of Riyadh was a return to his 2016 election campaign rhetoric when he accused the kingdom of not pulling its weight in paying for the US security umbrella.
“Nobody’s going to mess with Saudi Arabia because we’re watching them,” Trump told a campaign rally in Wisconsin a year ago. “They’re not paying us a fair price. We’re losing our shirt.”
The United States is the main supplier for most Saudi military needs, from F-15 fighters to control and command systems worth tens of billions of dollars in recent years, while American contractors win major energy deals.
The world’s top oil exporter and its biggest consumer have enjoyed close economic ties for decades, with US firms building much of the infrastructure of the modern Saudi state after its oil boom in the 1970s.