Trump’s first 2018 tweet: Pakistan ‘given us nothing but lies’
In his first tweet of the new year President Donald Trump slammed Pakistan, saying the country has given the US nothing but “lies and deceit.”
“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 Monday morning. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, speaking to CNN affiliate Geo TV Monday, said his country was “ready to publicly provide every detail of the US aid that it has received.”
“We have already told the US that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,” added Asif.
The Pakistan government has yet to issue a formal response, though on Monday, US Ambassador David Hale was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to meet with senior foreign office officials, a US Embassy spokesman confirmed.
The New York Times reported last week that the US might withhold $255 million in aid to Pakistan because of Trump’s frustration over its handling of terrorists in the country. White House officials met to decide whether to cancel the aid, the Times reported.
The commander of the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, US Army Gen. John Nicholson, said in November that Pakistan had not changed its behavior since Trump announced his new policy for Afghanistan and the wider region, which specifically calls on Pakistan to do more.
“No, I haven’t seen any change yet in their behavior,” Nicholson told reporters after a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels when asked whether Pakistan was cooperating more in eliminating Taliban sanctuaries.
“You’ve heard the public statements from President Trump, from (Defense Secretary James) Mattis, from (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford) from (Secretary of State Rex) Tillerson, so we are engaging at the very highest levels with the Pakistanis to work together with them against these terrorists that are undermining the stability of the entire region,” Nicholson added.
“Pakistan has fought hard and suffered heavily against those terrorists focused on its government, and now we are asking them to focus on the terrorists that are attacking Afghanistan and attacking the coalition,” he continued. “The United States has been very clear about the direction we want to go, and we hope to see some change in the coming weeks and months.”
In contrast to his tweet Monday, Trump in October was talking about how much Pakistan now respected the US.
After American Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, were freed as Taliban prisoners, the President praised Pakistan’s cooperation with the US.
“This is a very positive moment for our country’s relationship with Pakistan,” Trump said, adding that the Pakistani government’s cooperation “is a sign that is honoring America wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region.”
Trump said Pakistan is “starting to respect the United States again.”
Later that month US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Pakistan and urged its leaders to step up efforts “to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country.”