On Wednesday, President Donald Trump told the press that the decision to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany was due to the country’s “delinquent” defense spending.

“So we’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills. It’s very simple – they’re delinquent,” Trump said.

Earlier the day, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced that the United States would pull nearly 12,000 troops out of Germany for the strategic purposes that have nothing to do with German defense spending. 

However, Esper’s explanation for this decision was quickly denied by Trump.

“We spend a lot of money on Germany, they take advantage of us on trade, and they take advantage on the military, so we’re reducing the force,” Trump said.

“Germany’s not paying for it. We don’t want to be the suckers anymore,” Trump told reporters. “The United States has been taken advantage of for 25 years, both on trade and on the military. So we’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills.”

Following the report, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called the president’s decision as a “gift to Russia.”

“The move may temporarily play well in domestic politics, but its consequences will be lasting and harmful to American interests,” he said.