As a contentious North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Brussels began to wind down on Thursday, President Donald Trump claimed victory over defense spending and reaffirmed US commitment to the alliance.
The summit in Brussels is shaping up as the alliance's most hard in years, against a backdrop of deepening transatlantic tensions in fields ranging from trade to energy and defence.
Trump has set a bombastic tone for the talks, unleashing a barrage of criticism against European allies, including a clash with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"There is value in protecting the president in having a number of Americans in the room when the conversations take place, because just what I saw on the scale of a congressional visit can happen in a presidential visit in which the description of what transpired in the meeting does not fit reality", Moran said. "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany", he added, saying he had raised his concerns about a new gas pipeline planned from Russian Federation to Germany.
The US President's comments came after days of pressure on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members to contribute more, including publicly calling them out on Twitter and telling them he would be "very unhappy if they did not increase their defence spending substantially".
Also present was France's President Emmanuel Macron, who tried this year to charm Mr Trump into more harmonious transatlantic relationship, only to see the United States president withdraw from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and impose tariffs on European goods. EURACTIV broke the story.
Mr Trump said countries needed to "step up, not over a 10-year period, they have to step up immediately" adding that other USA presidents had raised the issue but "did not do anything about it".
"NATO is not a stock exchange where you can buy security".
Two of her top government officials resigned earlier this week over negotiations on how to manage Brexit, including foreign secretary Boris Johnson, whom Trump has called a "friend".
Trump began his trip here by scolding allies over breakfast Wednesday with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in "very direct language" but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO's resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally.
Germany, Europe's biggest economy, spends just 1.24%, compared with 3.5% for the US.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to hit back at US President Donald Trump's claim that "Germany is a captive of Russia" by drawing on her own upbringing in Soviet-controlled East Germany.
Trump took his war of words with America's allies to a new level Wednesday, telling NATO's top official that Germany is "captive" to Russian Federation due to a recent energy deal. "But it could lead to productive - something very productive, and maybe it's not".
US officials toldReuters that the White House is preparing another review of strategy in Afghanistan, just a year after Trump hesitantly extended the involvement in America's longest war.
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 United States now spends.
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