Arab states ‘ripping off’ US over Libya campaign, says Trump

Real estate tycoon Donald Trump says oil-rich Arab countries should pay $5bn to US for cost of operation
Arab states ‘ripping off’ US over Libya campaign, says Trump
Oil-rich Arab states should be paying the US for the cost of its military campaign in Libya, said Donald Trump
By Joanne Bladd
Tue 19 Apr 2011 01:52 PM

Oil-rich Arab states should be paying the US for the cost of
its military campaign in Libya, Manhattan real estate mogul Donald Trump said.

In an interview with CNN, the would-be Republican
presidential candidate said the US should demand $5bn from cash-flush Arab
countries to continue strikes against Muammar Gaddafi.

“The Arab
League is so wealthy, they have so much money, they have cash pouring out of
their ears, and they tell us, and we’re a debtor nation, they tell us to go in
and take out Gaddafi, because we don’t like him,” he told the network.

The bill for the first week of air strikes is estimated to
have cost the US taxpayer $600,000.

“Why aren’t
they paying us? Why aren’t they paying us?” Trump said. “When they said that,
you should have said; ‘We’ll go in, but we want $5bn.’And you know what, that’s
peanuts for them, they’d give you a cheque in about two seconds.”

Trump, who
shot to global fame with the launch of his reality TV show, ‘The Apprentice’, is
mulling a run at the White House in 2012. If successful, his comments suggest the
US would see a sea-change in foreign policy issues.

“I don’t
think it’s a business mentality, I think it’s a common sense mentality,” he
said, referring to the $5bn payment. “They go, ‘Boom, Boom, Boom,’ thank you
very much. But we don’t have the mentality that even thinks to ask for it.”

Trump has
previously been equally direct on issues such as China’s currency manipulation –
which he would answer with a 25 percent tariff on all exports to the US – and on
the price of a barrel of oil.

“I’m saying
that China is ripping us off; Saudi Arabia is ripping us off,” he said.

Trump ranked 488th on Forbes magazine's 2010 list of the
world's billionaires with an estimated net worth of $2bn. He has said he will
decide whether to make a run for president by June.  

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