President Donald Trump said the over 5,000 US troops in Iraq will not leave until Iraq compensated America for the “extraordinarily expensive air base” there. And he is not asking for chicken change, but billions of dollars.
Trump’s remarks came on the heels of Iraq’s Parliament vote asking for the expulsion of the U.S. military from the country, as anger mounted over the drone strike Trump ordered last week that killed Iran’s Qasem Soleimani and nine others.
“We’ve spent a lot of money in Iraq,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One as he returned to Washington after spending the holidays at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.
“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build….We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”
The president added that if Iraqi officials try to kick the United States out the country it would not leave on a “very friendly basis.”
The U.S. invasion of Iraq took place in 2003, based on false information that the country’s leader, Saddam Hussein had stored weapons of mass destruction.