Donald Trump made a startling admission in a speech to his supporters in Iowa earlier this week.
The US president continued his unique brand of personal communication with the American electorate by holding a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Wednesday.
Near the conclusion of his speech to an enthusiastic crowd, Trump turned to discussion of his first foreign tour, which saw him meeting with the heads of 54 Muslim countries in the Saudi capital of Riyadh:
…you go to Saudi Arabia where I just came back – a monumental, epic trip. Because I said: You cannot continue to fund terrorism. And the king of Saudi Arabia who…is really a very special man, I mean that – he has taken it to heart.
It may have been a slip by Trump, who is known for generous ad libbing during speeches.
But he clearly accused Saudi Arabia of complicity in terror funding – something for which Qatar is currently under fire after Riyadh and several allies threw the small Gulf emirate under the bus.
The United States, not to mention the world at large, has known about the Saudi support for radical Islamic terror for quite a while.
The failure of Washington to condemn the Wahabist Saudis’ role, while pointing the finger solely at Qatar (which certainly is also guilty), has been a glaring omission.
Continuing his speech, Trump attempted to backtrack slightly, stressing the Saudis were now on board for the fight against terror, but then appeared to say the greater part of the Muslim world bore responsibility:
And [the Saudis] are fighting with other countries that have been funding terrorism…We cannot let these incredibly rich nations fund radical Islamic terrorism or terrorism of any kind…54 Muslim nations coming together, some immensely powerful, wealthy nations…
He then emphasized that in fact, the main point of the trip was actually not economic, but precisely to let those nations know that the status quo on ISIS support had to change:
[We’re] making airplanes, we’re making all sorts of things, hundreds of billions of dollars, and it’s going back [to the US]. [But] the real purpose of my being there, was to make sure these countries do not fund terror any longer.
Earlier in his address, Trump had strongly reiterated his campaign rhetoric, decrying the havoc caused by decades of US military intervention:
Our country has spent $6 trillion in the middle east – wasted. And the lives, the lives…thousands and thousands and thousands of lives. We started 16 years ago, and it’s in far worse shape than it was 16 years ago. So we spent all of this money, all of these lives…and let me tell you, I came in and took over a very, very difficult hand. But we’re going to get it fixed – that’s what you put me here for.
Needless to say, Trump’s rhetoric is at odds with Pentagon policy, which seems to have changed little since the turnover in administrations. There is clearly a discrepency between the US president’s views and the deep state’s demands.
Whether anything will come of Trump’s talk with the Saudis is questionable. Most likely, they will continue exporting their radical brand of Islam while they seek to lay blame solely on Qatar as the scape goat.
But at any rate, reports of the death of “anti-establishment Trump” appear to have been greatly exaggerated.