#House Republicans urge Trump not to pull US troops from Germany

#House Republicans urge Trump not to pull US troops from Germany

June 10, 2020 | 3:11pm | Updated June 10, 2020 | 3:41pm

GOP members of the House Armed Services Committee are putting up a united front in an effort to convince President Trump to not go through with his plan to withdraw US troops from Germany.

In a letter sent to the commander-in-chief Tuesday, 22 Republicans led by Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) urged Trump to reconsider the move.

“We are very concerned about reports that the Administration is considering a significant reduction of U.S. troops currently based in Europe as well as a cap on the total number of U.S. troops which can be present there at any one time,” the letter read.

“We believe that such steps would significantly damage U.S. national security as well as strengthen the position of Russia to our detriment.”

Earlier this month, Trump ordered the Pentagon to cut the number of US troops stationed in Germany by 9,500. The order, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, would also cap the American troop presence at no more than 25,000.

Currently, there are 34,500 American service members permanently assigned in Germany as part of a longstanding arrangement with America’s NATO ally.

The decision came amid rising tensions between Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Those tensions reached a new peak recently when Merkel rejected his invitation to the 2020 G7 meeting that was supposed to occur this month, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

A senior administration official disputes that Merkel played any role in the decision to pull the troops, however, telling the Journal that internal discussions had been ongoing since September, long before anything occurred related to Merkel deciding not to attend this year.

This is not the first time Trump has voiced some objection to a large troop presence in the region.

House Armed Services Committee ranking member Rep. Mac Thornberry
House Armed Services Committee ranking member Rep. Mac ThornberryCQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

During a July 2018 NATO meeting with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump questioned why the US protects Germany, ostensibly from Russia, while the country is involved in an energy deal with Russia.​

“I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia​,​ and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump ​told Stoltenberg at the time. “So we’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France, we’re protecting all of these countries. And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. And I think that’s very inappropriate.”

​”​But Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline​,” he continued.

In their letter to the president, House Republicans conceded that Germany was deserving of some scrutiny.

Military personnel unload Bradley Infantry Fighting tanks of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, as US military equipment arrives to the Port of Bremerhaven.
Military personnel unload Bradley infantry vehicles of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, as US military equipment arrives at the Port of Bremerhaven.AFP via Getty Images

“We strongly believe that NATO allies, such as Germany, should do more to contribute to our joint defense efforts. At the same time, we also know that the forward stationing of American troops since the end of World War II has helped to prevent another world war and, most importantly, has helped make America safer,” they wrote.

The White House has not yet publicly responded to the letter.


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