Trump asks Congress to pass legislation making sure US aid 'only goes to America's friends'

  • In President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address, he asked Congress to help pass legislation ensuring US aid serves “American interests,” and would be prioritised for “friends of America.”
  • Trump also lauded his December decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and criticised countries that rejected the move at the United Nations.
  • The White House announced its plans to cut foreign aid in its 2018 budget proposal.
  • The US has since cut hundreds of millions in foreign assistance.

In US President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address on Tuesday, he called on congress to pass legislation that would ensure US aid would be prioritised in favour of what he called “America’s friends.”

“I am asking Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign assistance dollars always serve American interests and only go to friends of America, not enemies of America,” Trump said.

Trump also lauded his December decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,Trump added that dozens of countries voted against his Jerusalem decision at the United Nations.

“In 2016, American taxpayers generously sent those same countries more than $US20 billion in aid,” Trump claimed.

Trump added that while the US was strengthening its “friendships” around the world, it was also “restoring clarity” on entities the US considers “adversaries.”

The White House pitched its plans to make heavy cuts to foreign aid in its 2018 budget proposal. In line with Trump’s “America First” policy, the White House stated it would focus on “returning more American dollars home and ensuring foreign aid supports American interests and values.”

The US has reportedly threatened to make cuts to United Nations programs by up to 50%, and Trump reiterated the notion in December when he threatened to cut finances to UN member states who voted against his Jerusalem decision.

In the last month, Trump has made firm on his promises to slash foreign aid to countries and aid groups that were deemed unfavorable.

The US announced it was withholding $US255 million in aid to Pakistan following a series of tweets from the president of which he accused the country of providing “safe haven” to terrorists.

Two weeks later, the US announced it would suspend $US65 million in aid to UNRWA, a United Nations group that provides relief and education services to Palestinian refugees. Trump had previously threatened to withhold aid from the group if the Palestinians continue to refuse to negotiate a US-brokered peace deal.

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