Trump doubles down on criticism of Qatar, undermines US State Department in the process

President Trump has been known to go off script in the past, in the process at times deviating from what the White House's company line is.

It has caused rifts between himself and his Communications Department in the past, not to mention the people who are the target for his wrath. Now we have another example of that on display as Trump continues criticizing Qatar for their alleged bankrolling of terrorist groups.

Friday saw Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attempting to coerce a peaceful end to the Gulf crisis that has seen a blockade on Qatar, hoping for a "calm and thoughtful dialogue" according to the New York Times.

This was almost immediately undermined by the president during a speech in The White House Rose Garden alongside the president of Romania:

Barely an hour later, Mr. Trump's comments were anything but that. He accused Qatar of being a "funder of terror at a very high level" and demanded that the tiny, energy-rich nation cut off that money flow to rejoin the circle of responsible nations.

"We had a decision to make," Mr. Trump declared at a Rose Garden news conference with the president of Romania, Klaus Iohannis. "Do we take the easy road or do we take a hard but necessary action?" he said. "We have to stop the funding of terrorism."

RELATED: Countries that cut ties with Qatar

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Countries that cut ties with Qatar
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Countries that cut ties with Qatar

Saudi Arabia

In this photo, OPEC President, Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, and OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo talk to journalists before the beginning of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Egypt

In this photo, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) meets with the Head of the National Iraqi Alliance, Ammar Al-Hakim at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt April 18, 2017 in this handout picture courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency. Picture taken April 18, 2017. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout

United Arab Emirates

In this photo, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, center, attends the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Bahrain

In this photo, U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Maldives

In this photo, Maldives former president Mohamed Nasheed speaks during an interview with Reuters in Colombo, Sri Lanka March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

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A senior administration official reported to The Times that Trump and Tillerson were indeed on the same page, showing both statements side by side, but a State Department official tells a different story, noting that "The president is focused on ending terrorism; the secretary is focused on diplomacy" between the Gulf Cooperation Council of Sunni Gulf states.

For their part, Qatar quickly came out and claimed the sanctions against them were without merit. The oil-rich country has called the accusations against them "unjustified," while claiming the allegations of their involvement with terrorist groups "have no basis in fact." On Friday, Qatari Ambassador Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani unleashed a tweetstorm that took Qatar's defense a step further and addressed Trump on his own turf, asking the United States to look into their actions for themselves and with their own sources:

Trump fired off his own tweets about the Qatar-Gulf Crisis on Tuesday, basically taking credit for the entire thing. Perhaps this will help to break through and put the president on a path to work this whole thing out. Possibly without the need for the reply feature.

(Via BBC)


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