Trump says Saudi king wouldn’t last 2 weeks without US support
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Trump says Saudi king wouldn’t last 2 weeks without US support

In election rally, president boasts he told King Salman ‘you have to pay for your military,’ amid pressure to lower oil prices

US President Donald Trump (C-L) and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (C-R) arrive for the Arabic Islamic American Summit at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh on May 21, 2017 (AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN)
US President Donald Trump (C-L) and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (C-R) arrive for the Arabic Islamic American Summit at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh on May 21, 2017 (AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — US President Donald Trump said Tuesday night that Saudi Arabia’s king “might not be there for two weeks” without US military support, as he sought to pressure the close American ally over rising oil prices.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Mississippi, Trump said: “I love the king, King Salman, but I said, ‘King, we’re protecting you. You might not be there for two weeks without us. You have to pay for your military, you have to pay.'”

Trump didn’t elaborate on when he spoke to the king.

Trump and King Salman last shared a reported telephone call on Saturday, discussing global crude oil prices amid the American leader’s call for OPEC to bring down energy prices.

In this photo provided by the Saudi Press Agency, King Salman attends a swearing in ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on November 6, 2017. (Saudi Press Agency, via AP)

The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported the call, saying “the efforts to maintain supplies to ensure the stability of the oil market and ensure the growth of the global economy” were discussed by the two leaders.

US officials acknowledged the call at the time, but offered no details.

Trump, facing political pressure at home, has been calling on OPEC and allies like Saudi Arabia to boost their production to lower global crude oil prices.

Benchmark Brent crude oil is near $85 a barrel — a four-year high — and analysts say it could reach $100 as US sanctions on Iran resume in November. US gasoline prices are up ahead of November midterm elections.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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