Leaders of member nations that belong to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) pledged their “unwavering commitment” to increasing their defense funding of the organization after President Donald Trump slammed the group for treating the United States unfairly.
The commitment from European leaders came after Trump publicly embarrassed NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg during a meeting early on Wednesday morning. Fox News reports:
The U.S. and European allies signed a declaration stating they are “committed to improving the balance of sharing the costs and responsibilities of alliance membership.”
The declaration comes after confrontational and testy discussions between Trump and other NATO leaders.
“So, we’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France, we’re protecting all of these countries,” Trump said. “And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. So, we are supposed to protect you against Russia.”
“You tell me if that is appropriate.” Trump continued. “This has been going on for decades. This has been brought up by other presidents, but other presidents never did anything about it.”
“It’s very unfair to our country, it’s very unfair to our taxpayers,” Trump told Stoltenberg. “And I think that these countries have to step it up not over a 10 year period— they have to step it up immediately.”
A Tuesday report from Forbes revealed that the U.S. spends more than double in defense spending for NATO than all other NATO members spend combined.
The United States' defense spending is more than double what every other NATO member spends on defense – combined.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 11, 2018
Trump continued hammering NATO after the early morning meeting, tweeting:
What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2018
National Review noted that Trump suggested that “a commitment of 4 percent would be required to achieve parity with U.S. defense expenditures.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 12, 2018