Trump touches down in Belgium for NATO summit after warning on Twitter that he won’t ‘happily defend’ EU allies that are stiffing the U.S. on trade
- President Trump repeatedly berated America’s European allies for failing to meet their defense spending obligations to NATO
- European Council President Donald Tusk hit right back at him at an EU-NATO signing event: ‘America does not have and will not have a better ally than Europe’
- Tusk said: ‘America appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many’
- President Trump tweeted minutes later: NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!’
- He told reporters as he prepared to board Marine One that America has plenty of allies and put new pressure on NATO nations to increase their defense spending
- U.S. NATO ambassador said this week that the United States’ European partners had not brought up trade in the context of security alliance
- ‘Our diplomats are professional and they are staying on our NATO issues, where we are 100 percent allied,’ Kay Bailey Hutchison said on Sunday
- Trump defied her and put his tariffs on the table for discussion at NATO’s summit in Brussels, where he arrives on Tuesday evening, in tweets
- The appearance was gearing up to be a repeat performance of a confrontation at last month’s G7 summit in Canada
Donald Trump says that he’s not going to ‘happily defend’ America’s allies in Europe while they stiff the U.S. on trade
‘Just doesn’t work!’ he harped in his latest in a string of Tuesday gripes.
Trump launched the latest salvo in the dispute between the United States and Europe as he landed in Belgium for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s leader’s summit.
He tweeted shortly before stepping off the plane: ‘The European Union makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe (U.S. has a $151 Billion trade deficit), and then they want us to happily defend them through NATO, and nicely pay for it.
Donald Trump said Tuesday that he’s not going to ‘happily defend’ America’s allies in Europe while they stiff the U.S. on trade as he arrived in Belgium
Trump launched the latest salvo in the dispute between the United States and Europe as he landed in Brussels for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s leader’s summit
Trump complained about NATO in tweets all day long from the White House and Air Force One
He sent this tweet shortly before his plane landed in Brussels, Belgium
Trump signaled in a trio of tweets earlier on Tuesday that heads of state can expect a reckoning in Brussels over the ‘unfair’ burden on the U.S. taxpayer to pay for Europe’s protection.
‘Many countries in NATO, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made. Will they reimburse the U.S.?’ he asked Tuesday afternoon while he was in the air on his way to the summit.
Tuesday morning Trump complained that the U.S. is unfairly bearing the brunt of the 29-nation security alliance’s costs at a time when member nations have a leg up in trading relationships with America.
‘The U.S. is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer,’ he griped. ‘On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!’
As he came under assault in Brussels from the EU Council head for the complain and others like it minutes later, Trump added, ‘NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!’
U.S. President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday that European leaders can expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit and faced an immediate brush-back from European Council President Donald Tusk
Trump is seen here in May of 2017 at a working dinner at last year’s NATO gathering
TALK TO THE HAND: Trump told DailyMail.com as he left the White House, ‘We do have a lot of allies, but we cannot be taken advantage of’
Trump woke up early on Tuesday chagrined about the United States’ trade relationship with allies that are part of the Brussels-based security and their lacking contributions to NATO’s defense fund
Tusk fired back at Trump from NATO’s new headquarter city of Brussels: ‘America: appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many’
The president’s first Twitter salvo was met with an immediate brush-back from European Council chief Donald Tusk, who said at a signing ceremony that Trump should be more careful with his taunts.
‘America does not have and will not have a better ally than Europe. Today Europeans spend on defense many times more than Russia and as much as China,’ he said in remarks that were addressed to Trump.
Then, in the toughest challenge yet to the U.S. president from a friendly, foreign leader, Tusk said: ‘America: appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many.’
Trump fired back minutes later as he left the White House en route to Brussels.
‘We do have a lot of allies. But we cannot be taken advantage of. We’re being taken advantage of by the European Union,’ he told DailyMail.com.
‘We lost $151 billion last year on trade, and on top of that we spend at least 70 per cent for NATO, and frankly it helps them a lot more than it helps us. So we’ll see what happens.’
Trump had invited the challenge from Tusk by pillorying NATO member nations in almost-daily tirades, but Tusk himself acknowledged that European countries need to step up their contributions.
‘Everyone expects an ally that is well-prepared and equipped,’ he said.
The EU Council leader assessed that ‘money is important’ yet said that ‘genuine solidarity is even more important.’
‘Speaking about solidarity, I want to dispel the American president’s argument which says that the U.S. alone protects Europe against our enemies, and threat the U.S. is almost alone in this struggle,’ he said in a repudiation of Trump’s statements.
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Trump refused to climb down from his position as he spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning local time from the White House’s South Lawn. ‘NATO has not treated us fairly…We pay far too much and they pay far too little’
Tusk argued that Europe ‘was first to respond on a large scale’ when terrorists attacked the U.S. on 9/11. He further noted that European soldiers have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in Afghanistan.
Trump refused to climb down from his position as he spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning local time from the White House’s South Lawn.
‘NATO has not treated us fairly, but I think we’ll work something out. We pay far too much and they pay far too little,’ he said. ‘But we will work it out and all countries will be happy.’
Trump acknowledged that the relationship between the U.S. and many of its traditional allies had soured in the nearly 18 months since he took office. He said a meeting next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin may be the ‘easiest’ leg of his four-nation visit to Europe.
The tough-talking president is on his way to Belgium — his first stop on a week-long tour will take him to England and Scotland with a finale in Helsinki, Finland.
With Trump in the air, it was his NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchinson who was left to do the talking for him at a news conference where Trump’s flattery of Putin and his disagreement with Tusk came up. Hutchison also had to dance around questions about Trump’s furious assaults on Germany.
Hutchison told reporters that Trump backs Article 5 of NATO’s charter, which specified that an attack on one is an attack on all.
‘He is committed to Article 5 protection just as it is in he NATO charter,’ she told press who arrived at the NATO summit in advance of the U.S. president.
She also stressed that ‘the importance of unity in NATO is what makes us different’ from other alliances that the U.S. and Europe are a part of .
‘I will say that in all of the disagreements that have happened between President Trump and the United States’ position and the EU,’ Hutchsion said, ‘our allies in NATO have remained steadfastly focused on the NATO issues, and we are in agreement, we are in unity on our security issues, and we are an alliance that has performed better, increasing our capabilities.’
Hutchinson said that while Trump is hard on Germany, for instance, he believes he is ‘pulling them toward us, not away from us.’
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked Trump for the push at a news conference kicking off the organization’s conference.
‘It is clearly having an impact,’ he said. ‘We estimate that European Allies and Canada will add an extra 266 billion USD to defense between now and 2024. This is significant.’
Stoltenberg said that eight countries would hit their contribution targets this year compared to three in 2014.
At the presser he said he was confident that leaders would be able to put their differences over trade aside as they have done in the past, because NATO has a good story to tell.
When it comes to defense spending, he said, it is true that the burden sharing has not been fairly distributed. That is why Canada and European nations that are part of the alliance are stepping up.
‘I would not be surprised if we had robust discussions at the summit, including on defense spending, he said. ‘Different views are common between friends and allies.’
The president directly linked the the trade discrepancies that inspired his heavy metal tariffs in tweets that contradicted his NATO ambassador’s assessment a day prior that the policies should be evaluated separately from one another. He’s pictured here talking to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in June at the G7 summit
He put on the table in talks that begin Wednesday in Brussels with the tweets that kicked off a day that was supposed to be focused on his Supreme Court appointment on Monday
Trump woke up early on Tuesday chagrined about the United States’ trade relationship with allies that are part of the Brussels-based security organization NATO and their lagging contributions to its defense fund.
Just 16 countries are on track to meet the agreed upon spending obligation of 2 percent GDP, the United States has said, in accordance with a non-binding pact established by NATO nations in 2014.
In tweets on Monday Trump berated the rest for relying on the United States for protection, while at the same time running massive trade deficits with the U.S.
The president directly linked the trade discrepancies that inspired his heavy tariffs on metal imports to Western security in tweets that contradicted his NATO ambassador’s assessment a day prior that the policies should be evaluated separately from one another.
‘NATO benefits Europe far more than it does the U.S. By some accounts, the U.S. is paying for 90% of NATO, with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitments,’ Trump said. ‘On top of this the European Union has a Trade Surplus of $151 Million with the U.S., with big Trade Barriers on U.S. goods. NO!’
The president put trade on the table in talks that begin Wednesday in Brussels with the tweets that shifted the focus from his Supreme Court appointment. He announced Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee at a Monday night event.
Trump departed the U.S. for Belgium, where NATO recently opened new headquarters, in the morning on Tuesday. He meets with European allies all day Wednesday and part of Thursday before a short stop in London for a working visit with Theresa May. Hell also have a private audience with the queen.
His trip to Brussels was looking to be a repeat of the testy confrontation he had with leaders from allied nations in June at the G7 summit in Charlevoix.
He butted heads with them on trade in Canada, also, complaining that NATO is ‘much too costly for the U.S’ and almost as bad as the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In Belgium, he will come face-to-face with Canada’s Justin Trudeau for the first time since senior aides to Trump accused the prime minister of trying to sabotage the American president’s Singapore summit.
Trump will face opposition in Brussels from almost all of NATO’s 29 member nations over his worldwide steel and aluminum tariffs. The EU and Canada have retaliated with stiff penalties of their own on American-made products.
He will also enter uncomfortable talks about the alliance’s security posture, as well as the United States’ in response to his decision to conclude his trip to Europe with a tacked on stop in Finland to negotiate with NATO nemesis and Russian head of state Vladimir Putin.
The president who has groused since he was a candidate about NATO burden sharing was expected to pressure member nations in Brussels to meet the soft goal of two percent GDP for defense spending that was agreed to by the group years before he took office.
‘The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable. While these countries have been increasing their contributions since I took office, they must do much more. Germany is at 1%, the U.S. is at 4%,’ Trump harped in a message on Monday.
He has singled out Germany as a violator incessantly. His defense secretary recently put a microscope on spending by the contribution-abiding U.K. in a new twist of the knife, as well, in a letter that leaked to The Sun.
Trump hammered Germany at a Thursday evening rally, in Montana, where he claimed that he told the country’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, that he believes Europe is benefited more by the security alliance because of its proximity to Russia than the U.S.
Germany puts 1.2 percent of its GDP toward the collective defense of NATO nations compared to the United States’ 4 percent, Trump pointed out, rounding Berlin’s contribution down.
He repeated the charge in tweets on Monday in which he again brought up the EU’s trade deficit with the United States.
An outside view of the NATO building is seen at the NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The security organization has its annual summit in Belgium this week
A day prior, Hutchison, had insisted on Fox News that trade and security were not related and should not be a subject of NATO talks.
TRUMP’S AGENDA IN BRUSSELS
President Trump arrives in Brussels on Tuesday evening local time July 10.
He begins his Wednesday with a bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. His secretaries of defense and state and his national security adviser will also participate in the conversation.
Trump will next meet with the United States’ Brussels missions’ staff and families, as is customary for a U.S. president when visiting foreign countries.
Later on Wednesday he will attend an opening ceremony at the NATO headquarters. There, he will meet privately with unknown heads of government.
He will attend a working dinner that evening with fellow leaders.
Wednesday morning leaders will participate in meeting with the presidents of Georgia and Ukraine.
An Afghan strategy session follows.
Trump departs Belgium on Wednesday afternoon for London, where he has a working visit with Prime Minister Theresa May and an audience with the queen before a weekend in Scotland.
He caps his trip to Europe with a stop in Helsinki, Finland, for a summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
‘One thing I will say is that in all of the disagreements that we have seen at the G7 and with allies with whom we are now having trade talks and negotiations and tariffs, that has not come up in the NATO context,’ she stated. ‘Our diplomats are professional and they are staying on our NATO issues, where we are 100 percent allied.’
She said prior to the summit that Russia’s ‘malign activities’ and a ‘rising China’ would be the foremost topics.
The president on Friday slapped $34 billion in tariffs on China that were aimed at reducing a trade deficit with the country that the U.S. has also accused of rampant and intentional intellectual property violations.
But he is said to have told France’s Emmanuel Macron that the EU is worse than China on trade in some ways when they met in Canada last month.
The rift over trade and the president’s planned talks with Putin set the stage for more tension in Belgium.
Hucthison pointed out on Sunday that Trump’s way of doing business had been effective, though, pointing to increased contributions to NATO since he took office.
‘NATO really is making progress and they are doing it really at President Trump’s insistence, and I think that it’s very clear, and he’s been very direct about the Europeans needing to do more for their own security,’ she said. ‘Every ally is now increasing defense spending.’
Trump’s liaison to NATO said, ‘We’ve had the largest increase in defense spending since the Cold War. And in the year and a half since President Trump has been in office, it has doubled since 2014.
‘So, I think he is making an impact and I think that the Europeans, including Chancellor Merkel just recently who has said we are going to do more,’ she said. ‘We need to do more, it’s the right thing to do and she is encouraging her Bundestag, her parliament, to increase the defense budget so that we will be more fit for purpose in NATO for the fights that we want to deter.’
A day prior, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hucthison, had insisted on Fox News that trade and security were not related and should not be a subject of NATO talks
Merkel said last month in a speech to parliament that she anticipates ‘very difficult’ talks in Brussels in a reference to the increasingly complicated relationship between Germany and the United States in the era of Donald Trump.
‘It is no secret that the transatlantic alliance is under strain at the moment but we are convinced that the alliance remains central to our common security,’ the European leader stated.
Trump hit back at her on Thursday evening, saying in remarks at a campaign event for a U.S. Senate candidate that Europe is killing America on trade and paying Russia billions for oil and gas all while complaining that it needs protection from Putin and his military.
‘We’re paying anywhere from 70- to 90-percent to protect Europe. And that’s fine. Of course, they kill us on trade. They kill us on other things,’ he proclaimed. ‘So they want to protect against Russia, yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia and we’re the schmucks paying for the whole thing.’
The president said he told Merkel in an undated conversation that he couldn’t commit to protecting Germany from Putin’s army.
‘Putin is fine. He’s fine. We’re all people,’ he said. ‘Will I be prepared? I’ve been preparing for this stuff all my life.’
Hutchison said Sunday that she does not agree with the president’s assessment of Putin. She said Trump is right, however, to engage with the former KGB spy who has personally been accused by the U.S. of directing a scheme to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.
‘We should be talking to Vladimir Putin and many of our allied nations do as well,’ she said. ‘But it is to try to bring them in the tent instead of just constantly seeing them do these things that are attempting to disrupt us, but will not.’
She claimed on Tuesday at a news conference that Trump was saying at this rally that he was ‘not certain’ that Germany could pay out more money to NATO, not that he was unclear about the United States’ continued ability to protect the ally from Russia.
‘I think that the president believes that Germany is one of our strongest partners,’ she asserted.
Trump hammered Germany at a Thursday evening rally. He says he told the country’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, that he believes Europe is benefited more by the NATO security alliance because of its proximity to Russia and because it doesn’t contribute enough to NATO
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