“You’ve now become a very big advocate and we appreciate it,” the president told Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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U.S. President Donald Trump vouched publicly Tuesday for Qatar's efforts to stop the funding of terrorism, reversing his past critique and lending presidential credence to Qatari claims that it's been unfairly maligned by its Gulf rivals. Less than a year ago, Trump stood in the Rose Garden and chided the tiny gas-rich nation for historically funding terror at a "high level," as he broke with his secretary of state by siding against Qatar in its row with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other neighbors. Since then, Qatar has mounted an aggressive and well-funded campaign to rehabilitate its image in the U.S. and prove it's a reliable American partner.Trump hasn't recently repeated the charge about Qatari funding for extremism, and U.S. officials have credited Qatar with making progress in cracking down and improving transparency.There have been other signs that Trump is warming to the Qataris.Trump cast Qatar's military purchases as part of an economy-juicing opportunity for the U.S.The meeting came shortly after Trump greeted Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman with pomp and pageantry at the White House last month at the start of the crown prince's marathon tour of the U.S. The de facto leader of another Qatari opponent, the UAE, will also soon visit the White House.
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