Love this man. President Donald Trump has exceeded our wildest expectations.
‘Germany is a captive of Russia’: Trump dresses down NATO’s secretary general and threatens Berlin over its lagging defense spending and energy partnership with Putin’s government
- Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday morning after the leader asked him about Vladimir Putin
- ‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia,’ Trump charged. ‘I think its a very bad thing for NATO’
- Merkel told press that her country is ‘independent’ after Trump’s tongue-lashing
- President Trump has berated America’s European allies for failing to meet their defense spending obligations to NATO
- The complaints come full circle this week at the NATO leaders’ summit
- On Tuesday, European Council President Donald Tusk hit back at Trump, telling him, ‘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
Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday for defending Germany‘s energy partnership with Russia and threatened Berlin with U.S. action over the deal that he said is wholly inappropriate.
Trump fumed that ‘Germany is a captive of Russia’ and said the U.S. would ‘have to do something’ in light of the pipeline deal that’s funneling billions of dollars to Moscow.
‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia,’ he charged. ‘I think its a very bad thing for NATO, and I don’t think it should have happened.’
Stoltenberg reminded him that the U.S. and Europe are ‘stronger together than apart’ and that has been proven by two World Wars and the alliance’s dealings with Russia.
Trump told him in response, ‘No, you’re just making Russia richer. You’re not dealing with Russia, you’re making Russia richer.’
The confrontation stunned the leaders’ senior advisers, including Trump’s secretaries of defense and state. A press aide demanded the media leave the room as Trump pushed Stoltenberg to explain how the U.S. is supposed to protect Germany when it’s opening its front door to Vladimir Putin.
Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday for defending Germany’s energy partnership with Russia after Stoltenberg reminded him that the U.S. and Europe are ‘stronger together than apart
Stoltenberg inadvertently whipped the U.S. president into a frenzy at an internationally-broadcast breakfast by asking Trump about his upcoming meeting with Putin. Trump responded with a tirade on Germany and its weaknesses and griped, again, about lagging contributions from members of the NATO alliance.
Trump gave Stoltenberg an earful with media present, telling the visibly startled NATO chief, ‘We’re protecting Germany. We’re protecting France. We’re protecting everybody, and yet, we’re paying a lot of money to protect.’
Trump said that past presidents did not confront America’s allies because they did not want to meddle in their affairs or they were blind to the problem.
‘I think that these countries have to step it up — not over a 10-year-period — they have to step it up immediately,’ Trump demanded. ‘Germany is a rich country. They talk about they’re gonna increase it a tiny bit by 2030. Well, they could increase it immediately tomorrow and have no problem.’
The United States’ more than 4 percent GDP contribution to the security group compared to its European allies is ‘very unfair’ to the American taxpayer, he said in a familiar complaint.
‘I don’t think it’s fair to the United States, so we’re going to have to do something, because we’re not gonna put up with it. We can’t put up with it, and it’s inappropriate,’ Trump on Wednesday proclaimed. ‘So we have to talk about the billions and billions of dollars that’s being paid to the country that we’re supposed to be protecting you against.’
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. 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.
TERSE TALKS: Trump fumed that ‘Germany is a captive of Russia’ and said the U.S. would ‘have to do something’ about a gas deal that’s funneling billions into Moscow’s economy
U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of Defence James Mattis, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Trump began the rant by telling Stoltenberg it’s ‘very sad’ when Germany, France and ‘numerous of the countries go out and then make a pipeline deal with Russia’ and then expect the U.S. to foot the bill for their security.
‘So we’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that’s very inappropriate,’ Trump said. ‘And the former chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas.’
Trump informed Stoltenberg that ‘Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas’ when the deal is fully realized.
‘So you tell me is that appropriate?’ he said. ‘I mean I’ve been complaining about this from the time I got in. It should never have never been allowed to have happened.’
Now, he said, ‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia…And you tell me if that’s appropriate, because I think it’s not. And I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO, and I don’t think it should have happened, and I think we have to talk to Germany about it.’
Merkel told press in German as she arrived at NATO that her country makes ‘independent decisions,’ according to a translation by AFP, a global news service.
‘I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being occupied by the Soviet Union,’ said Merkel, who was born and raised in East Germany, in her native language.
She said of a previously divided Berlin, ‘I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions.’
The White House subsequently said that Trump would hold private talks in the afternoon on the sidelines of the NATO summit with Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump told Stoltenberg that the alliance must confront Germany over its gas deal with Russia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen her on Wednesday during her Cabinet meeting in Berlin. She’ll see Trump later today at NATO
Trump said he told Merkel in an undated conversation that he couldn’t commit to protecting Germany from Putin’s army
In bringing up the gas deal, Trump returned to an issue he has raised before his trip that seeks to both put Germany on the defensive while simultaneously pushing back on the narrative that it is the U.S. that is cozying up to Moscow.
For much of the past year, it has been Trump who has been under attack for resisting sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, his frequent praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his repeated attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
But in Brussels, Trump hammered Merkel for taking part in a deal that would give it direct access to Russian energy supplies and cut out Eastern European nations fearful of Moscow’s leverage.
In March, Germany reached a deal to allow Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom to run its Nord Stream 2 pipeline through its waters. The 9.5 billion pound deal immediately outraged East European allies.
Russia has used its oil and gas to pressure and punish its neighbors. The move came just a day after Germany joined UK in protesting the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Great Britain.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the Alliance’s headquarters ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels
She will continue talking to Trump after everyone else has gone home as she is hosting the U.S. President in Britain for a two-day visit
The pipeline will send Russian oil and gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea. Poland and other Eastern European countries fear the pipeline could leave them vulnerable to Russian pressure.
This May, a State Department official weighed in against the project. Deputy Assistant Secretary Sandra Oudkirk said the pipeline could allow Russia to exert ‘malign influence’ in Europe. But the pipeline company said the project wouldn’t be used to blackmail other countries.
Stoltenberg unequivocally said at a news conference that followed his meeting with Trump that the pipeline deal is ‘a national decision’ and ‘its not for NATO to decide.’
‘It’s not for NATO to solve this issue,’ he stated.
Trump bashed Germany over the pipeline issue at a campaign rally last Thursday in Montana, where he also raised the pipeline issue.
‘They go out and make a gas deal, oil and gas, from Russia, where they pay billions and billions of dollars to Russia. They want to protect against Russia and yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia, Trump said then.
He said at the rally that he told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he could not ensure he nation’s security as a result.
U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels on Wednesday
Trump informed Stoltenberg that ‘Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas’ when the deal is fully realized
Germany’s defense minister told CNBC after Trump’s assault on her country on Thursday that two weeks ago she had occasion to visit the United States and was reassured by her conversations with American lawmakers of the strength of the alliance.
‘The president is as the president is. We know him and we can cope with that,’ Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen told CNBC from outside of NATO’s headquarter. ‘This rhetoric also leads us to remember that a lot is at stake.’
Von der Leyen said that generations that came of age after WII have taken peace granted. ‘Now, we have to fight for democracy. We have to secure our international order, our peace architecture,’ she said.
It was Trump who had arrived in Brussels on the defense on Tuesday after the EU Council’s head berated him at an off-site event that was attached to the NATO summit.
Trump had signaled in early morning tweets on Tuesday that foreign leaders could expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit over the ‘unfair’ burden on the U.S. taxpayer to pay for Europe’s protection.
He was met with an immediate brush-back from European Council chief Donald Tusk, who said at a signing of a joint declaration between the Brussels-based security alliance and the body of EU nations, 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. ‘And I think you can have no doubt, Mr. President, that this is an investment in common American and European defense and security.’
Then, in the toughest challenge yet to the U.S. president, Tusk said: ‘America: appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many.’
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 signaled in early morning tweets that foreign leaders can expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit over the ‘unfair’ burden on the U.S. taxpayer to pay for Europe’s protection. He’s seen here in May of 2017 at a working dinner at last year’s NATO gathering
Trump fired back minutes later as he left the White House en route to NATO.
‘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 in the lead-up to the alliance’s summertime summit by pillorying NATO member nations in almost-day tirades.
Just prior to Tusk’s comments on Tuesday, Trump complained that the United States is bearing the brunt of the 29-nation security alliance’s costs and said that it’s not fair to Americans, especially when the U.S. is getting hosed in the markets.
‘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)!’
After Tusk’s slap at him – which the EU Council leader also tweeted at Trump – the president doubled down on his position, saying, ‘NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!’
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’
Tusk had acknowledged in his remarks that European countries need to step up their contributions.
‘Everyone expects an ally that is well-prepared and equipped,’ he said.
The EU Council chief 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.
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.’
He 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 the Russian president may be the ‘easiest’ leg of his four-nation visit to Europe.
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