October 11, 2018 11:04
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday recalled that he ordered officials to remove a controversial Terminal high-altitude area defense battery from South Korea to the U.S.
Trump was speaking at a Republican rally ahead of midterm elections in Iowa. From the podium, he recounted a meeting with "a certain general" in the past. He said, "How much is it going to cost? 'Sir, $1 billion.' I said, 'whoa, whoa!'"
"Go back to the country. Renegotiate that deal. That's not a good deal," he added. "But, sir, the Obama administration has already agreed to it. I said I don't care if they agreed to it. I couldn't care less if they agreed to it."
"So we're putting in a system that we pay for and it's going to cost $1 billion in order to protect an immensely wealthy country that makes all of your television sets, right?'" Trump said. "So we like South Korea. We've got 32,000 soldiers over there. Thank you very much, United States. They don't pay."
"Samsung, LG, I order a lot of them, South Korea," he added.
Trump's remarks echo quotes from a book by Bob Woodward called "Fear: Trump in the White House" that details his chaotic presidency based on first-hand accounts from members of the administration.
The book says Trump early last year ordered then White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster to stop the deployment and redeploy the THAAD battery in Portland, Oregon.
At the time, McMaster said South Korea would provide the site for the THAAD battery for free for 99 years and the U.S. would only pay for installation and operation. Defense Secretary James Mattis persuaded Trump that the THAAD deployment would be helpful not to South Korea, but to the U.S., the book adds.
It is unclear whether Trump is still determined to pull the battery out or whether he was simply riding a hobby horse for the benefit of his core supporters.
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