President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he is inclined to pull U.S. troops out of Syria soon.
“I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home. I want to start rebuilding our nation,” Trump said in a response to a reporter’s question during a press conference with Baltic leaders.
The president said getting rid of ISIS has been the United States’ primary goal in Syria and that “we’ve almost completed that task.”
He added that the U.S. will be making a decision “very quickly in coordination with others in the area as to what we’ll do” and suggested that if others, like Saudi Arabia, want the U.S. to maintain a presence, perhaps they should pay for it.
“Saudi Arabia is very interested in our decision and I said, well, you know, you want us to stay, maybe you will have to pay but a lot of people, you know, we do a lot of things in this country. We do them for, we do them for a lot of reasons. But it is very costly for our country and it helps other countries a hell of a lot more than it helps us. So we’re going to be making a decision, we’ve had a tremendous military success,” Trump said.
The president’s remarks come after he suggested last week in surprise comments that the U.S. would soon pull out of Syria.
“We’re knocking the hell out of ISIS. We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon,” Trump said in Ohio last week.
The president also seemed to signal a long-term commitment to the fight against ISIS, saying in his opening remarks of Tuesday’s press conference, “we will not rest until ISIS is gone.”
Trump has previously been deeply critical of his predecessor for forecasting what the U.S. would do militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, accusing President Obama of revealing the strategy to the enemy by announcing the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
As a candidate, Trump vowed that he would never do something like that