Washington, DC – US President Donald Trump on Friday threw his weight behind a proposal floated by a fellow Republican, Senator Rand Paul to redirect aid money that would have gone to Pakistan into a US infrastructure fund.
The twitter proposal by Kentucky Senator and endorsement by the President, followed the US State Department announcement on Thursday to freeze billions of dollars in military aid to Pakistan until it took decisive action against terrorist organizations operating in the country. The figure of approximately $2 billion represented about $1 billion in planned military assistance, including $255 million that was placed on hold in August, and about $900 million in Coalition Support Funds intended to reimburse Pakistan for counterterrorism operations.
On the same day, Senator Rand Paul tweeted introduction of a bill to end aid to Pakistan. Paul added in his tweet: “My bill will take the money that would have gone to Pakistan and put it in an infrastructure fund to build roads and bridges here at home.”
On Friday night, after meeting the Senator, during the ongoing weekend Camp David brainstorming retreat, the president tweeted, “Good idea Rand!.”
Pakistan made an appearance in the president’s tweets at the dawn of 2018. In his first posting of the new year, Trump accused Pakistan of lying to and deceiving the US despite receiving billions in foreign aid.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” Trump tweeted, adding, “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
Book Overshadows Retreat
But the weekend retreat at Camp David’s Laurel Lodge, near Thurmont, Maryland, was getting overshadowed by Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” According to the White House, the President is hosting “bi-cameral Congressional Leadership for a small-group discussion of 2018 legislative priorities and the successful passage of tax cuts and reform.”
In a series of tweets, President Trump rejected questions raised over his mental health in the bombshell book, describing himself as a “very stable genius.” The book went on sale early on Friday, days ahead of its scheduled release. Althoght the president lawyers made attempts to block its publication, the book became an instant bestseller.
The US president has dismissed the book, calling Wolff a “loser,” but the book suggested even those close to Trump have questioned his capability. The book described a Trump team shocked by their own win on election night, White House staffers saying Trump’s “mental powers were slipping”, and senior administration officials calling Trump an “idiot.”
A major fallout was noticed as a public rift appeared between President Trump and his former close aide Steve Bannon, who is quoted as accusing Trump’s eldest son Donald Jr of “treasonous” behavior in meeting a group of Russians in New York.
Attacking both Bannon and Wolff, the president disclosed the former cried when he lost his job last year, while the latter had written a book “full of lies.” The president also accused Democrats and the “fake news” media of “screaming mental stability and intelligence.”