Trump takes aim at key anti-ISIS ally Qatar in tweets

Trump said it’s "so good" to see his visit to Saudi Arabia is paying off.

ByABC News
June 6, 2017, 3:22 PM

— -- President Donald Trump has set his sights on Qatar -- a key ally in the fight against ISIS and the location of a massive U.S. military presence -- in a series of tweets Tuesday and praised the move from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen to severe ties with the small Arab country.

On Twitter, Trump said it's "so good" to see his visit to Saudi Arabia, the first leg of his foreign trip last month, and his participation in the Arab Islamic-U.S. summit that included 50 Muslim countries is "already paying off."

"During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!" Trump tweeted this morning.

The five Arab countries have long-decried Qatar's relationship with the Shiite-led country Iran and support for regional terror groups including Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood – a claim that Trump seemed to endorse. Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said those are "unfounded allegations," according to an English translation of its website.

"Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!" Trump posted.

Press secretary Sean Spicer would not answer during today's press briefing whether the president actively encouraged the Arab nations' isolation of Qatar or if anyone in the Trump administration spoke to the Saudis before they announced cutting ties to Qatar.

"This issues is not new. There's been tension among Qatar's neighbors for quite some time. And the situation was notified thorough proper diplomatic channels," Spicer said during today's press briefing.

Spicer also said the United States continues to be in "close communication with all the parties to resolve the issues and restore cooperation."

"The U.S. still wants to see this issue de-escalated and resolved immediately keeping with the principles that the president laid out in terms of defeating terror financing and extremism," Spicer said.

While Trump appears to be praising Saudi Arabia and the four other countries for its blockade against Qatar, Trump ignores the military ties the U.S. has to Qatar.

Qatar is a key U.S. ally in the fight against ISIS and the U.S. military base in Qatar is one of the largest in the Middle East, with over 11,000 U.S. and coalition service members deployed there and 100 aircraft.

A military plane serving the campaign against ISIS takes off or lands at the Al Udeid air base approximately every ten minutes, according to the U.S. Air Force.

Trump has also met with the Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani in the capital of Saudi Arabia while on his foreign trip last month.

“We are friends. We’ve been friends now for a long time indirectly, haven't we? Our relationship is extremely good," Trump said following his meeting with then of U.S-Qatar relations. "We have some serious discussions right now going on. One of the things that we will discuss is the purchase of lots of beautiful military equipment because nobody makes it like the United States."

Trump and the Emir of Qatar also spoke on the phone in February in which the two leaders "reaffirmed the close defense cooperation between our two countries and committed to strengthen efforts to defeat violent terrorists," according to a readout from the White House.

In an interview with BBC News, the Qatari foreign minister Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani said his country is the victim of collective punishment from the other countries and that there's no evidence to support Trump's tweets pointing the finger at Qatar today.

Trump's tweets this morning accusing Qatar of funding terrorism and siding with Saudi Arabia come as Trump has been strengthening diplomatic ties with the Saudis.

On the first day of his foreign trip last month, Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia to a lavish welcome and left having signed a $110 billion arms deal with the Arab nation.

It was also revealed in filings disclosed by the Justice Department that the Trump International Hotel accepted $270,000 from Saudi Arabia, which a spokesperson for the Trump organization said would be donated at the end of the year.

While Qatar has been accused of funding terrorism organizations, so has Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government has been accused of backing extremists including a strict sect of Islam known as Wahhabism.

ABC News' Elizabeth McLaughlin and Karen Travers contributed to this report.