In May, Trump pulled the United States out of a nuclear accord with Iran, against the wishes of U.S. allies in Europe that helped negotiate the deal alongside U.S. diplomats. Saudi Arabia is Iran's chief rival for regional influence and backed Trump's exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
U.S. sanctions on Iran's energy, banking and shipping sectors snapped back into place on Nov. 5. One month before that, oil prices spiked to four-year highs as the market braced for a potential shortage of crude.
That rally has since unwound, with crude futures plunging about 30 percent on concerns about a slowdown in global economic growth and the view that oil supply will outstrip demand next year. Trump's decision to allow some of Iran's biggest customers to continue buying crude from the Islamic Republic contributed to the pullback.
Saudi Arabia and its allies are now considering cutting output by 1 million to 1.4 million barrels per day to prevent a price-crushing crude glut. Trump recently took to Twitter to urge the Saudis and OPEC against throttling back output.
Trump also said he wants to preserve billions of dollars in potential U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which is facing mounting criticism for its invasion of neighboring Yemen. The conflict has created the world's worst current humanitarian disaster, with both the Saudi-led coalition and Iran -backed Houthi rebels accused of war crimes.
Democratic leaders lambasted Trump's statement on Tuesday.
"We should immediately end support to the Saudis in the war in Yemen and bring that conflict to an end, suspend arms sales to the Kingdom, and diminish our reliance on Riyadh regarding other matters in the region," said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.