Trump Walks Back NATO Threats, Takes 'Total Credit' For Spending Boost

Donald Trump

But French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters the alliance had not agreed to anything new during the meeting. But by midday Thursday in Brussels, Belgium, he was taking credit for allegedly securing pledges from the other leaders to pay more into NATO's coffers.

Trump did not directly answer questions about whether he had threatened to take the USA out of the alliance, saying he "told people I'd be very unhappy if they didn't up their commitments very substantially". "It has been really unbelievable to see the level of spirit in that room".

"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.

Trump continued his now familiar verbal attacks, saying too many US presidents had failed to get Europeans to spend more on defense and that he wanted immediate results.

"Putin is not America's friend, nor merely a competitor", McCain said in the statement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel denied the claims, but had a harder time fending off Trump's criticism that Germany and many other allies were not meeting defense spending targets of 2 percent of GDP.

According to the report, "In 2017, the USA accounted for 51.1 percent of NATO's combined GDP and 71.7 percent of its combined defense expenditure".

Canada has "significant concerns" with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which would bring gas from Russian Federation to the Baltic coast of Germany, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Wednesday.

Earlier Thursday, Trump called out USA allies on Twitter as he attended a second day of meetings with leaders of the military alliance. Only eight countries expect to meet the target in 2018, he said.

Two NATO sources said, however, that Trump had not issued a threat to pull the United States out of the alliance that it helped found to keep the peace in Europe after World War Two.

The tough rhetoric against a core ally comes just days before Trump is set to meet one-on-one with Putin in Finland. The people voted to break it up so I imagine that's what they'll do but maybe they'll take it in a little bit of a different route. "I don't know that is what they voted for".

Donald Trump attacking others for not paying their fair share "is ballsy - It's basically the Trump business plan", Kimmel reminded.

Instead, he said, the other 28 allies had agreed to increase their defense spending more quickly to meet a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation target of two percent of their national income within a few years.

He also renewed a demand that they even double that - though many question what they could usefully spend it on.

In a series of tweets from Brussels, Trump said "Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russian Federation". That turning point has always been initiated. Trump first attacked the alliance as "obsolete" during the 2016 presidential campaign, and he has continued maligning American allies in office.

Woody Johnson, the USA ambassador to the United Kingdom, dismissed the significance of the protests, telling Fox News that one of the reasons the two countries are so close "is because we have the freedoms that we've all fought for".

'We're going to sit down for a half hour interview.

"I think that Russian Federation, quite frankly, ought to be named a state sponsor of terror for their activities", Mr. Gardner said.

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