Top House Republican Blasts Trump Plan To Charge Allies A Premium On U.S. Troops

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said the president's "cost plus 50" formula would be "absolutely devastating" for national security.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) has criticized “cost plus 50” proposal.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) has criticized “cost plus 50” proposal.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican, on Sunday criticized President Donald Trump’s reported plan to force U.S. allies to pay billions of dollars more for hosting American troops on their soil.

Under a new formula devised by the president, allies such as Japan and South Korea would potentially pay Washington the full cost of stationing U.S. troops in their territory, plus an additional 50 percent.

The formula, which Trump has dubbed “cost plus 50,” could cause affected countries to contribute five times what they currently do, according to The Washington Post.

Cheney, a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, told NBC’s “Meet The Press” that the impact of this plan would be “absolutely devastating” to U.S. diplomacy.

“We benefit tremendously ... [from] our bases and our cooperation with our allies,” she told host Chuck Todd. “The notion that we are somehow now going to charge them cost plus 50 is really, it’s wrongheaded and it would be devastating to the security of our nation and to our allies.”

Cheney said she wouldn’t support such a formula, but would not say whether her party would.

“Our security, we’ve been able to protect it because of our alliances and because we’ve been able to work with countries,” she said. “We should not look at this as though somehow we need to charge them ... for the privilege of having our armed forces there because that does us a huge benefit as well.”

The “cost plus 50” formula, which Trump has been pushing for months, had a nearly disastrous effect on recent talks with South Korea, Bloomberg reported.

“We have a more integrated military with South Korea than with any other ally,” Victor Cha, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the publication. “To send this message to a front-line Cold War ally is trying to say very clearly that they want a paradigm shift with the way they do host-nation support.”

Watch Cheney’s full interview with “Meet The Press” below. Her comments about Trump’s “cost plus 50” proposal begin around the seven-minute mark.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article indicated Cheney was a representative from Wisconsin. She is from Wyoming.