President Donald Trump is constantly reassessing the best posture for the American military forces and its presence overseas, the White House has said, while clarifying that there is no announcement to make on the withdrawal of US troops in Germany.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany made the comments at a press conference on Monday while responding to media reports that Trump has decided to withdraw thousands of US troops from Germany, a NATO ally.
We have no announcements at this time. I know there’s reporting out there, but, as of this moment, there are no announcements.
The President is continually reassessing the best posture for the United States Military forces and our presence overseas. I mean, we remain committed to working with our strong allies, McEnany said.
Currently there are about 34,500 US troops stationed in Germany. According to The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, the reported troop reduction plan of Trump would cap US soldiers in Germany to 25,000.
A senior US official said the administration has been discussing the move since September and that it is not linked to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision not to attend a G-7 meeting Trump was to host in Washington in the end of June, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Officials on Friday said that the Trump administration ordered the change in a memorandum signed recently by White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.
The Washington Post had reported that Germany was not informed about the decision as of Friday.
The reduction plan, it said, was pushed by US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who has also served for the past several months as acting director of national intelligence.
Congressman Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, described the decision as reckless.
“Vladimir Putin (Russian president) must be delighted that the American president is gutting our own deterrent against Russian aggression in Europe,” he said in a statement.
“And the president’s (Trump) insulting dismissal of one of our most important relationships because of a personal vendetta confirms that he lacks moral leadership, respect for our allies and understanding of our national security interests, Engel said.
Meanwhile, AP reported from Berlin on Saturday that German lawmaker Norbert Roettgen has criticised the reported US troops withdrawal plan, terming it as “very regrettable.”
In an interview published Saturday by Germany’s Funke Media Group, lawmaker Roettgen, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Union bloc who chairs the German parliament’s foreign policy committee, was quoted as saying that he couldn’t see any factual reason for the withdrawal” and that US soldiers were welcome in Germany.