WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he would like to see the U.S. remove troops from Syria.
“I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home. I want to start rebuilding our nation,” Trump said during a joint press conference with the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Trump added that the U.S. has spent $7 trillion over the past 17 years and received “nothing out of it.”
The president said that a final decision will be made “very quickly in coordination with others in the area.”
Trump suggested that Saudi Arabia, whose leaders have publicly said the U.S. should remain in Syria, could pay for the U.S.’ continued involvement.
“Saudi Arabia is very interested in our decision and I said ‘well, you know, you want us to stay, maybe you’re going to have to pay,’” Trump said.
Following his remarks, the White House released a readout of a call between the president and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
“On Syria, the president and the King discussed joint efforts to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS and counter Iranian efforts to exploit the Syrian conflict to pursue its destabilizing regional ambitions,” the readout states.
Trump initially broached the notion of the U.S. removing troops from Syria during remarks at an infrastructure event in Richfield, Ohio last week.
“We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon,” Trump said. “Let the other people take care of it now.”
After the initial remarks, Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon said that there were no changes, despite what Trump said.
“Nothing has changed as far as our mission in Syria, which is to defeat ISIS,” Pahon said.
On Tuesday, Trump acknowledged that the U.S. was in the country to defeat ISIS, but said the goal was “close to 100 percent” completed.
The U.S. has approximately 2,000 troops in Syria, according to numbers disclosed by the Pentagon last December.