“I want to make something very clear, Mr. President,” he said. “We do not and we will not tolerate with people who fund terrorism. We’ve been cooperating with the United States of America to stop funding terrorism around the region.”
Last June, Mr. Trump stood in the Rose Garden and accepted the view of Qatar’s regional rivals, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, that the small energy-rich emirate was providing money to terrorist groups, cozying up to Iran and harboring fugitives. The Saudis and others had instituted a boycott of Qatar, citing terrorism financing, and Mr. Trump echoed their conclusions during a meeting with reporters.
Qatar, he said then, was a “funder of terror at a very high level,” and he demanded that it cut off that money flow to rejoin the circle of responsible nations. That put him at odds with Rex W. Tillerson, then his secretary of state, who sympathized with Qatar as it endured the Saudi-led boycott. Mr. Trump recently fired Mr. Tillerson for other reasons, but has now come around to his point of view.
Mr. Trump met with the emir in September on the sidelines of a United Nations meeting and promised to help broker a resolution to its dispute with its neighbors, an effort that went nowhere. Qatar, which hosts al-Udeid Air Base, home to nearly 10,000 American troops, has signed agreements with the United States for sharing information on terrorists and their money supplies.
Mr. Trump heaped praise on the emir on Tuesday, describing him as a “great friend.”
“He’s very popular in his country,” Mr. Trump said. “His people love him. We’re working on unity in that part of the Middle East, and I think it’s working out very well.”