During a phone call in early April with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, President Trump threatened to withdraw U.S. troops from the kingdom unless the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cut oil production, Reuters reported on Thursday. Trump’s ultimatum, which reportedly shocked bin Salman, was part of a greater effort to save the U.S. oil industry from an oil price crash amid the coronavirus pandemic. Just 10 days after the call, Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to slash an unprecedented 10 percent of global production. Trump made clear to bin Salman that if the kingdom did not start cutting supply, “there would be no way to stop the U.S. Congress from imposing restrictions that could lead to a withdrawal of U.S. forces,” an unnamed U.S. official told the outlet.
The president, however, said in an interview with Reuters that he “didn’t have to tell” the leader about the threat of losing U.S. military support. “They were having a hard time making a deal,” Trump reportedly said of the call. “And I met telephonically with him, and we were able to reach a deal.”