The White House revealed on Friday that President Trump spoke with Libya's Gen. Khalifa Haftar via a phone call on Monday.
Trump reportedly praised Haftar, who is leading a rebel assault on the country's capital Tripoli, as he and his Libyan National Army try to wrest control from the incumbent United Nations-backed government. The two discussed Haftar's "significant role" in fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources, as well as their "shared vision" for Libya's future.
Trump's praise of Haftar is seen as a reversal of United States policy in Libya — Secretary of State Michael Pompeo demanded a halt to Haftar's assault earlier this month.
The news of the phone call reportedly led to thousands of Libyans taking to the streets in protest. "The call has no meaning, but we will respond to it," a protester told Reuters.
It is unclear why the White House waited several days to announce the phone call. Tim O'Donnell