Jun 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

WSJ: Trump orders thousands of U.S. troops to withdraw from Germany

Two tanks drive down a concrete road
Military personnel unload M1 Abrams Fighting tanks of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and other U.S. military equipment at the Port of Bremerhaven in Germany on February 21. Photo: Patrik Stollarz/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump recently directed the Pentagon to move 9,500 troops out of Germany by September, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing government officials.

The big picture, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: This is a decision that Trump has long discussed privately. He gave a somewhat surprising answer in 2018 when Axios asked about the value of a U.S. military presence in Europe, by saying that the troops provided some psychological and military value for the U.S. But his instincts were always to draw down.

Details: The memorandum, reportedly signed on Friday by national security adviser Robert O'Brien, limits the amount of U.S. service members that can be permanently stationed in Germany at one time to 25,000, according to the WSJ.

What they're saying: "While we have no announcements at this time, as commander in chief, President Trump continually reassesses the best posture for the United States military forces and our presence overseas," National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said in a statement to Axios.

  • "The United States remains committed to working with our strong ally Germany to ensure our mutual defense, as well as on many other important issues," Ullyot said.
  • The Pentagon referred Axios to the White House for comment.

Go deeper: Merkel declines invitation to G7 summit in the U.S., citing coronavirus

Go deeper