Published: Thu, July 12, 2018

Trump lashes out at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders over defense spending

Trump lashes out at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders over defense spending

Before the summit, European Union President Donald Tusk hit back at Trump for his "daily" criticisms of Europe, pointing out that the EU spends more on defense than Russian Federation and nearly as much as China, and telling him to "appreciate your allies. President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations".

The U.S. does not even spend 4 percent of GDP on defense.

"Last year was the biggest increase in defense spending across Europe and Canada in that generation", he added. Trump made it clear he's exhausted of America shelling out more money on defense than its allies.

Still, Trump is using the 4-percent-argument to ram home his message that the USA gets a bad deal from allies.

This summit is shaping up as the most divisive in Nato's 69-year-old history.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen dismissed Trump's comments, saying Germany is not captive to Russian Federation and the country can take Trump's criticisms in stride.

Mr Trump dominated the day and is set to stay in the spotlight as he visits the United Kingdom and prepares for a summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The comments received a swift and sharp rebuke from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The chancellor, who grew up in the former East Germany, told reporters, "I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union".

"I subscribe the view that we shouldn't be criticizing our president when he's overseas", said House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Throughout the day, leaders were peppered with questions about Trump's behavior and whether or not they agreed with his position on Germany.

Trump also is expected to meet with French president Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Trump admitted that the issue came up during his meeting with Merkel.

"We're having a great meeting".

He saidthey discussed defense investment and trade, adding: "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany".

"I will focus on what we have agreed and we have agreed that we committed to the pledge increasing defense spending to 2 percent", he told reporters.

Merkel responded with equally sedate remarks.

"Indeed we have an opportunity to have an exchange of our economic developments on issues such as migration and also the future of our trade relations".

Former US secretary of state John F. Kerry on Wednesday accused President Donald Trump of "strange" and "counterproductive" behavior at the outset of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation gathering and said Trump is "steadily destroying our reputation in the world".

The alliance set a goal in 2014 for each country to reach the 2% of GDP spending target by 2024.

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