WASHINGTON -- USinfo-icon President Donald Trumpinfo-icon has claimed that he told Saudi Arabiainfo-icon's King Salman he would not last in power "for two weeks" without the backing of the US military.

"We protect Saudi Arabia. Would you say they're rich? And I love the King, King Salman. But I said 'King - we're protecting you - you might not be there for two weeks without us - you have to pay for your military,'" Trump said to cheers at a rally in Southaven, Mississippi on Tuesday.

The comments came a few days after the Republican president called on Riyadh to increase its military spending, with an eye on more weaponsinfo-icon sales to the "rich" kingdom.

"I love Saudi Arabia. They are great, King Salman, I spoke with him this morning. I said, king, you have got trillions of dollars. Without us, who knows what's going to happen. .... With us they are totally safe. But we don't get what we should be getting," he said at a rally in West Virginia on Saturday.

Trump added that he had spoken to Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Saturday to make the same point, the AFP News agency reported.

Despite the harsh rhetoric, the Trump administration has maintained a close relationship with Saudi Arabia, which it sees as a bulwark against Iraninfo-icon's rising influence in the region.

Last year, Trump signed the largest arms deal in historyinfo-icon with the country despite warnings that he could be accused of being complicit in the regime's warinfo-icon crimes in Yemeninfo-icon.

Trump flew to Saudi Arabia as his first stop on his maiden international trip as president in 2017, during which Saudi Arabia agreed to buy $110 billion worth of US weapons and signed "investment" deals worth billions more.

In the same call on Saturday, Trump and the king discussed efforts being made to maintain supplies to ensure oilinfo-icon marketinfo-icon stability and global economic growth, according to Saudi state News agency SPA.

Saudi Arabia is the worldinfo-icon's top oil exporter and the de facto leader of OPECinfo-icon, which has been criticised by Trump for high oil prices.

Speaking at the United Nationsinfo-icon General Assembly in New York last month, Trump said OPEC members were "as usual ripping off the rest of the World".

"We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good. We want them to stop raising prices, we want them to start lowering prices," Trump said.