A U.S. soldier adjusts his cap in the cockpit as a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft is moved on the eve of the 52nd Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France, June 18, 2017. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
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In a telephone call with the emir of Kuwait in January, U.S. President Donald Trump pressed the Gulf monarch to move forward on a $10 billion fighter jet deal that had been stalled for more than a year.With this Oval Office intervention, the details of which have not been previously reported, Trump did something unusual for a U.S. president – he personally helped to close a major arms deal. In private phone calls and public appearances with world leaders, Trump has gone further than any of his predecessors to act as a salesman for the U.S. defense industry, analysts said.Trump's personal role underscores his determination to make the United States, already dominant in the global weapons trade, an even bigger arms merchant to the world, U.S. officials say, despite concerns from human rights and arms control advocates.Those efforts will be bolstered by the full weight of the U.S. government when Trump's administration rolls out a new "Buy American" initiative this week aimed at allowing more countries to buy more and even bigger weapons.SALESMAN IN CHIEFWhile many presidents have helped promote the U.S. defense industry, none is known to have done so as unabashedly as Trump, a former real estate developer who seems sometimes at his most comfortable when he is promoting U.S. goods.Trump regularly discusses specific arms sales with foreign leaders in meetings and on the phone, according to White House statements.
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