President Donald Trump is considering a sweeping foreign policy speech in advance of the Nov. 3 election and has been pressing members of his national security team to accelerate specific initiatives that he could highlight in his remarks, such as U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan, according to two senior administration officials and a former official briefed on the conversations.
The administration has made public its plans to reduce the U.S. presence to 4,500 troops by November, but the officials said a decision to draw down to 3,000 or fewer troops by early 2021 has already been reached. Trump has discussed with aides the idea of using the speech to announce the additional decrease, say the officials.
Trump’s advisers have pushed back publicly and privately, however, on his demand for a full withdrawal by January.
“I don’t think there’s anyone who believes we’ll be at zero by the end of the year,” a senior administration official said.