In a press-conference at Mar-a-Lago today, President Trump has reiterated a concept he has been repeating since the beginning of his presidential campaign: NATO countries in Europe need to pay their fair share to the alliance.
"I am a strong supporter of NATO," Trump said, "but it's time our partners meet their financial obligations."
Asked to confirm whether the US has sent a bill to Germany for $374 billion, for money the country allegedly owes the US for NATO defense, Trump replied: "We haven't sent out any bill yet, but our partners' obligations are clear. Each NATO member is supposed to contribute 2% of GDP to the treaty. Germany has only been contributing 1.2%. At the same time the US contributes 3.6% - almost double the requirement."
Questioned on what other NATO countries fell short of their commitment to the alliance, Trump stated: "There are 28 members in NATO, and only a handful of them meets the target of spending at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense. All the others are in debt."
Pressed on what countries in particular he was referring to, Trump added: "Certainly Spain and Italy have fallen behind their obligations. Italy in particular, they are not very courageous people. They should never forget that, together with Germany, they lost the war. And countries that lost the war with us should be twice as thankful to be part of this great military alliance with the United States."
In an off-the-cuff exchange after the press conference President Trump was heard saying, "I don't like countries that lose wars. I like countries that win wars."
It was not clear whether this remark was referred to Italy or Germany in particular, or was it meant in a general sense instead.
After the press conference Trump invited the reporters to a golf round in the Mar-a-Lago resort. Few attended.Continue reading the main story