Schumer Tells Trump to Cancel Meeting With Putin - Cortney O'Brien

Lester Mason
July 13, 2018

Having lambasted North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for failing to reach a target of 2 percent of national income on defence, Trump told fellow leaders in Brussels he would prefer a goal of 4 percent, similar to US levels, and then claimed victory for forcing countries to move.

Before anyone even arrived in Brussels, Belgium for Day One of the NATO Summit, Trump was already tweeting his allies about not putting up enough money for worldwide defense. But he added that the talks had ended on good terms: "Everybody in that room got along and they agreed to pay more and they agreed to pay it more quickly". He said they spent about 90 minutes talking at dinner and claimed they "probably never developed a better relationship than last night".

But by Thursday, leaders from France, Germany and Italy offered no support for Trump's claim that he had wrung new concessions out of the alliance on their military spending.

"I let them know that I was extremely unhappy", an ebullient Trump told reporters afterwards.

Former NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said on paper the summit was a success because of binding commitments to present a plan for increased defense spending and the development of the long-awaited Southern Strategy.

"What they're doing is spending - at a much faster clip they're going up to the 2 percent level", Trump said. "We all agreed we have to deliver on that", Stoltenberg said, later saying: "We have agreed that we need to make good on the pledges we have made".

"I'm a very stable genius", he said.

"But ultimately he is a competitor".

The Bulgarian President, formerly the commander of the Air Force before being elected head of state on a ticket backed by the opposition socialists, used Trump's statements to take a sideswipe at Bulgaria'scentre-right government, saying that Bulgaria was "reluctant" to allocate funds to the armed forces. "Hopefully some day he will be a friend. If he said something on the side I don't know", Conte said.

Trump had spent his time in Brussels berating members of the military alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defense, accusing Europe of freeloading off the USA and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense if they were attacked. "And I think you can have no doubt, Mr President, that this is an investment in common American and European defence".


Trump said he did not think Russian Federation would have invaded Crimea if he had been in the White House at the time.

Officials said that non-members of the alliance had been asked to leave the room early Thursday and that everyone in the room had been told to leave their phones outside.

"The problem is Trump seems to really see no benefit that allies provide the United States", says James Goldgeier, visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

"I've taken over a lot of bad hands and I'm fixing each one of them, and I'm fixing them well", Trump said during a hastily called press conference Thursday.

"The concern is that this is not just noise to disregard, because perception is reality and this president may be with us for another six years", the senior source said.

Pressed by reporters about whether he threatened to pull out of NATO, Trump acknowledged, "It was a little tough for a little while".

Nothing has changed since Trump arrived in Brussels.

The top Democrat in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, did not specifically call on Trump to cancel his meeting, but demanded the US President stand up to Putin.

Trump said a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May he would "absolutely" bring up the topic - which he has been including on a list of a handful of subjects he will raise when the two meet in Helsinki, Finland.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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