Trump complains about Biden tapping oil reserves for the same reason he did in 2019
Former US President Donald Trump, pictured in Florida on September 11, 2021, saw his bogus fraud claims debunked by courtrooms, state governments and Congress across the United States (AFP/CHANDAN KHANNA)

Donald Trump groused about President Joe Biden tapping the strategic oil reserves, but he once did the same thing for the same reason.

The current president ordered the release of 30 million barrels of oil from the government's reserves to help blunt rising gas prices, which have shot even higher after Russia's attack on Ukraine raised energy costs worldwide, and the twice-impeached former president criticized Biden's reasoning.

"He's using [it] to lower oil prices, and he shouldn't be using it for that," Trump said. "It's supposed to be used for our war, for emergencies."

However, as Washington Post columnist Aaron Blake pointed out, Trump made the same decision as president using the same justification.

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“Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia, which may have an impact on oil prices," Trump tweeted in September 2019, "I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied."

President Biden’s decision to release 30 million barrels of oil from the government’s reserves held underground salt caverns along the Texas and Louisiana coasts is one of few tools he has at his fingertips to try to protect Americans against higher gas prices.

That release, he said during his State of the Union address, will help “blunt gas prices here at home.”

“I want you to know that we are going to be okay,” he said.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine sent energy prices even higher than last fall, when gas prices ticked noticeably higher alongside inflation costs. Russia is one of the world’s largest oil and gas exporters. But energy analysts say Mr. Biden has very few options to quickly lower prices given the complexities of the industry’s supply and demand.

Speeding up lease sales and permitting for oil-and-gas production on federal lands or interstate pipelines would still take years of development.

Still, Mr. Biden faces pressure from lawmakers to do more to target Russia’s energy sector, which he has avoided to prevent price increases.

Republicans and some Democrats are pushing to expand sanctions on Russia’s powerful oil and gas industry, the lifeblood of its economy. So far, U.S. sanctions aimed at punishing Russia have targeted its top financial institutions and Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.