VIDEO: President Trump, Secretary Tillerson take different tacks on Qatar
Watch Friday’s joint press conference with President Donald Trump and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in the White House’s Rose Garden.
At a joint press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Friday, dominated by questions about fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony, President Donald Trump also decried terrorism and countries that support it.
In particular, he called out Qatar for being “historically a funder of terrorism.”
“No civilized nation can tolerate this violence,” President Trump said. “No more funding,” he emphasized.
Trump said when he met with Arab and Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia last month, they asked him about confronting Qatar. He said they decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the military generals, that “the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding and extremist ideology.”
The criticism of the Arab nation contrasted with remarks Tillerson made just a few hours before, in which he said the emir of Qatar was making an effort to halt financial support of extremist groups and to expel terrorist elements, though “he must do more and he must do it more quickly.”
Tillerson beseeched Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to ease the blockade against Qatar.
You can watch Tillerson’s full statement here:
“There are humanitarian consequences to this blockade,” he said. “We are seeing shortages of food, families are being forcibly separated, and children pulled out of school.”
The blockade also is impairing U.S. and other international business activities in the region, he continued, along with U.S. military operations and the campaign against the Islamic State extremist group.
“We call on Qatar to be responsive to the concerns of its neighbors,” Tillerson said. “Qatar has a history of supporting groups that have spanned the spectrum of political expression from activism to violence.” He called on the Gulf states to work together to resolve their differences.