Trump pushes allies for immediate military spending increase

Evarado Alatorre
Julio 12, 2018

Not only did Trump demand on Twitter on Thursday that countries meet the 2% level by this year, not 2024, but he also said all countries should eventually hit 4%, which is more than even the U.S. now spends.

"We're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said in the presence of reporters.

The US intelligence community has concluded that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election to boost Mr Trump's candidacy, and warns of further attempts at interference both in the 2018 midterms and in European elections.

The exchange was part of an uncomfortable day as anxious Western allies were subjected to the USA president's "America first" approach.

Trump asserted that a pipeline project has made Germany "totally controlled" by and "captive to Russia".

Trump and Merkel met later Wednesday on the sidelines of the summit and kept their remarks polite during a photo opportunity with the press.

File image of Donald Trump. Energy exports represent Russia's main source of revenue, and Trump argues that the pipeline undermines NATO's objective, as it's created to counter Russian aggression.

He described the current situation as "disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States".

As well as Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were also singled out by Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when USA taxpayers, funding a defense budget worth about 3.6 percent of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills.

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The Senate voted 97-2 Tuesday night to approve a similar nonbinding resolution to reaffirm the US relationship with and support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

He added: "Germany is totally controlled by Russian Federation".

Just a day ahead of the gathering, EU Council President Donald Tusk said that Trump should "acknowledge" its allies since "you do not have that many". "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany", Mr Trump said.

Stoltenberg later said Trump had "very direct language" but "when it comes to the core message we actually all agree... we have to share the burden more fairly".

"We had a very intense summit", Merkel herself told reporters after the meeting. "So I think the Secretary General likes Trump".

Instead, a series of events - a black-tie dinner with business leaders, a meeting with May and an audience with Queen Elizabeth II - will happen outside the bustling city, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has been in a verbal battle with Mr. Trump.

Trump predicted as he departed Washington that the "easiest" leg of the journey would be the sit-down with Putin - a comment that did little to reassure allies fretting over his potential embrace of a Russian leader they regard as hostile.

"Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have all that many", he said.

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