Last week, Bloomberg reported that the Trump administration is drawing up demands for Germany and Japan — and eventually other countries — to pay for the costs of hosting U.S. troops in their countries, plus an additional 50% or more.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who sits on the Armed Services Committee and is the head of the House Republican Conference, criticized the Trump administration's move, calling it “absolutely devastating.”
“We benefit tremendously” by stationing soldiers in South Korea, Japan, Germany and other countries, Cheney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “The notion that we are now going to somehow charge them ‘cost plus 50’ is really — it’s wrongheaded, and it would be devastating to the security of the nation and our allies.”
Cheney added that she would oppose the move in Congress.
“It’s going to be very important for us to make sure that people understand the danger that that will do to our relationships and to our fundamental security,” Cheney said.
“We should not look at this as though somehow we need to charge them rent or for the privilege of having our forces there, because that does us a huge benefit as well,” she added.
The “Cost Plus 50” formula could result in some countries paying five or six times more than they currently pay.
Last week, South Korea agreed to pay 8.2% more to host the 28,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in the country, the Strait Times reports. The total cost rose from $920 in 2018 to 1.04 trillion in 2019. The talks reportedly almost derailed when Trump overruled his negotiators by sending a note to National Security Advisor John Bolton saying, “We want cost plus 50.”
Since Trump announced he was running for president, he has consistently drawn attention to the amount the U.S. pays for security — especially in NATO. As recently as January, Trump once again reiterated his stance on the issue.
“Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, just stated that because of me NATO has been able to raise far more money than ever before from its members after many years of decline,” Trump tweeted. “It’s called burden sharing. Also more united. Dems & Fake News like to portray the opposite!”
Cheney’s father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, also criticized the Trump administration’s approach to foreign policy and national security last weekend. CNN reported that Dick Cheney attended an off-the-record event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute with Vice President Mike Pence that turned tense.
After asking Pence a few prepared and cleared questions, Cheney began expressing his concern about Trump's approach to the major foreign policy issues of the day. "He was persistent," said one attendee of Cheney. "He just kept coming at him on North Korea, treatment of the allies, the NATO payment issue."
Cheney not only voiced frustration that Trump's foreign policy closely resembled that of Barack Obama, but also that it was a significant break from GOP presidents of the past.
"I worry that the bottom line of that kind of an approach is we have an administration that looks a lot more like Barack Obama than Ronald Reagan," Cheney said to Pence, according to the Post, which obtained a transcript of the discussion that was off-the-record.
President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., fired back at the former vice president on Twitter.
“Isn’t it fitting that Cheney is the one mad that Trump is ending his reckless and endless wars? I never knew peace would be so unpopular!” Trump Jr. tweeted.