In 2019, Trump said U.S. "spent a fortune" on base attacked by Iran and "might as well keep it"

President Trump's remarks Wednesday suggested he's open to de-escalating tensions with Iran, while keeping the regime from developing nuclear weapons. On Tuesday, Iran launched more than a dozen missiles at Iraqi military bases where U.S. troops are also housed, in retaliation for the killing of top military leader Qassem Soleimani. There were no casualties, and according to Mr. Trump, "only minimal damage was sustained."

Mr. Trump gave no indication in his remarks that he plans to change troop levels in Iraq, in spite of the recent vote Sunday by the Iraqi Parliament to expel all U.S. troops and a leaked draft letter from a top U.S. commander in Iraq that discussed the repositioning of forces in Iraq after the vote.

Last year, the president told "Face the Nation" in February last year that he intended to keep U.S. forces in Iraq because he wanted to be able to "watch" Iran. 

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"We spent a fortune on building this incredible base," Mr. Trump said at the time of the Al Asad Air Base, which was targeted by Iran Tuesday. "We might as well keep it."  

"And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want ... to be able to watch Iran. All I want to do is to be able to watch. We have an unbelievable and expensive base built in Iraq. It's perfectly situated for looking at all over, different parts of the troubled Middle East, rather than pulling up," he told "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan. 

Mr. Trump echoed that sentiment over the weekend, noting that the base "cost billions of dollars" and said "we're not leaving unless they pay us back." 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also dismissed the idea that the U.S. would comply with the Iraqi vote demanding the removal of American troops. 

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"It is the United States that is prepared to help the Iraqi people get what it is they deserve and continue our mission there to take down terrorism from ISIS and others in the region. That is in defense of the Iraqi people and is good for America, too," he told "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

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    Emily Tillett is the digital producer at "Face the Nation"