Trump scolds North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members days ahead of summit

Hannah Rogers
July 10, 2018

On Russian President Vladimir Putin: Hutchison said she wouldn't describe Putin in the complimentary terms Trump uses, but that it's not unusual for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries to meet with Putin in the interest of dialogue. The leaked conversations of President Trump in which he asks the feasibility and cost of the high degree of withdrawal from Europe is one such matter.

"I believe that [the European NATO members] are stepping up. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable", Trump tweeted a day before he departs for the summit, which will take place July 11-12 in Brussels.

During a rally last week in Montana, Trump vowed that he would "tell NATO: 'You've got to start paying your bills."' The president also bemoaned that Americans were "the schmucks that are paying for the whole thing". "Most certainly, we have a rising China".

At the same time, he declared that "Putin is fine" and that he had been preparing for their summit "all my life".

"I don't think he has a choice".

The comment came in the same call in which Trump congratulated Putin on his re-election, despite warnings from his national security advisers not to do so after global observers said the Russian vote was full of evidence of fraud and intimidation.

Concerned Democratic lawmakers are likely to howl as Trump barnstorms Europe while criticizing America's oldest allies and sounding a lighter tone on Putin in pursuit of his campaign promise to warm U.S. -Russia relations.

NATO, which was founded soon after World War II to counter the influence of the Soviet Union, officially suspended all cooperation with Russian Federation after Putin seized Crimea in 2014.

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"It will become increasingly hard to justify to American citizens why some countries continue to fail to meet our shared collective security commitments", Trump said in a letter addressed to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg seen by Bloomberg News. "It's not as much as 2 percent yet, but I think they will recommit more to do more because they realize that Europe does need to do more and they are the strongest of the economies in Europe", Hutchison added.

In an earlier Twitter posting, the president singled out Germany for contributing just 1 per cent, which he said is one-fourth of what the U.S.is spending.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump will be largely kept away from central London.

"So they want to protect against Russia, yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia", Trump said.

Woody Johnson, Trump's ambassador to the United Kingdom, said the president is aware of the planned protests but insisted that Trump "appreciates free speech" in both countries.

Trump has shown his affinity for closed-door meetings already during his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month.

Will Trump ignore all of this in pursuit of a new U.S. -Russia alliance?

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