Trump asks NATO nations to double their defense spending at summit

Trump asks NATO nations to DOUBLE their defense spending to 4 percent after lambasting them for failing to live up to a 2024 goal of 2 percent GDP

President Donald Trump raised expectations for NATO member nations even higher on Wednesday in Brussels, asking them to double their defense spending to 4 percent of their varying GDPs.

His demand was revealed by the president of the Bulgarian government.

Trump’s White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed the ask to reporters, claiming that it was not a new position for the U.S. president.

President Donald Trump raised expectations for NATO member nations even higher on Wednesday in Brussels, asking them to double their defense spending to 4 percent of their varying GDPs

The U.S. president has lambasted U.S. allies for routinely failing to meet a 2 percent goal, a much lower standard that their nations agreed upon before he took office.

His demand that they raise their contributions to 4 percent came as a surprise during the first meeting of this week’s Brussels summit.  

‘President Trump, who spoke first, raised the issue not only to achieve 2 percent, today, but a new barrier – 4 percent,’ Bulgarian President Rumen Radev told reporters, according to the wire service Reuters.

Bloomberg omitted the part where Radev said that Trump spoke first and added a claim from the Bulgarian leader that the U.S. president left the meeting immediately after his own remarks. 

Radev charged: ‘He just left after he announced that.’ 

Sanders claimed in a statement to press that Trump made the very same ask at convening of NATO leaders last year. She did not dispute the Bulgarian president’s version of events.

‘During the President’s remarks today at the NATO summit he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2% of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4%. The President raised this same issue when he was at NATO last year,’ the Trump spokeswoman said. 

Sanders added: ‘President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations.’

A new NATO report actually puts the U.S. contribution at 3.5 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2018. Still, it’s significantly more than the next closest country – and nearly three times as much as Germany

Trump has claimed on numerous occasions over the last week that the United States’ more than 4 percent GDP contribution to the security of the group compared to its European allies is ‘very unfair’ to the American taxpayer. 

A new NATO report actually puts the U.S. contribution at 3.5 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2018, however.

Still, it’s significantly more than the next closest country. Germany’s spending on defense as a percentage of GDP was on par with a handful of other NATO nations at 1.24 percent, putting it at the mid-to-lower end of the pack.

The acknowledgement came during a pre-dinner interlude in Trump’s long summit day.  

Trump began his first and only full day in Belgium at a breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He participated in official NATO activities later, including the meeting where he made the 4 percent spending demand, and the organization’s new Brussels, Belgium headquarters. 

Before an evening program, Trump met with Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron.  

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