Trump: Israel 'One Reason' for U.S. Troops to Remain in Middle East

U.S. president says oil production becoming less of a reason to stay in the region

Trump and Netanyahu meeting in New York.
Carlos Barria/Reuters

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump said in an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday that “one reason” for the United States to remain in the Middle East is Israel.

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Trump made the comment during a portion of the interview in which he discussed whether or not the United States should continue to have a military presence in the region in light of current realities. 

“Now, are we going to stay in that part of the world? One reason to is Israel,” Trump said. He then explained that oil production was no longer a reason to do so. “Oil is becoming less and less of a reason because we’re producing more oil now than we’ve ever produced. So, you know, all of a sudden it gets to a point where you don’t have to stay there,” Trump explained.

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Last week, Trump said the U.S. would maintain its partnership with Saudi Arabia to "ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region."

Referring to the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump said: "We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran."

Trump added that "it is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!"