January 13, 2020

Morning Joe played this clip of Trump bragging to Laura Ingraham about his great deal with Saudi Arabia.

We're sending more troops to Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia is paying us for it. You know, we're doing something nobody has ever done. I said to Saudi Arabia, we have a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia. I said, you are a very rich country. You want more troops, I'm going to send them to you. But you've gotta pay us. They are paying us. They have already deposited $1 billion in the bank. We are going to help them. But these rich countries have to pay for it.

"And the billion dollars? To the U.S. bank account?" Face The Nation's Margaret Brennan asked Secretary Mark Esper

"What the president is referring to is burden sharing. It comes in many forms, we talk about contributing more to GDP defense commitment. The president's actions resulted in hundreds of billions contributed by our NATO allies. It includes host nation support, foreign military sales, providing troops on the ground and in cases it provides helping to offset some of our operations and maintenance costs, which the Saudis are committed to do just as they did, offset costs, during the 1990 and 1991 Gulf War," Esper said.

"How bizarre is that? To have a sitting president, commander in chief saying, hey, they are writing us checks, we are mercenaries," Joe Scarborough said.

"A billion dollars in what bank?" Tom Wilson asked. (Editor's note: My thoughts exactly.)

"Where is that checkbook? Also, it undermines the rationale of having allies in the first place. You have allies because you have a shared interest or you have shared values. In the best case, both. In this case, it's alliances, you know, if you write us a check, preferably a cashiers check, certified, it's very mercenary."

"It should be a Democratic attack line," Elise Jordan said. "His voters don't like it. They know something is up with it. They haven't liked it for years. If I'm Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, I would be hammering away, 'Why is Donald Trump so cozy with the Saudis? What's he getting in return?"

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