Friday, 17 August, 2018

Trump says he is 'stable genius' after securing extra North Atlantic Treaty Organisation funding

US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference at the US Capitol US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference at the US Capitol
Patty Aguilar | 14 July, 2018, 03:30

In his closing news conference, Mr Stoltenberg said the president had injected a "new sense of urgency" into the discussions on "burden-sharing".

"In the case of Germany, a lot of European countries would be very uncomfortable with that level of spending", the diplomat added - a nod to the World War Two aggression that was to lead to NATO's creation.

Bringing chaos with him as he moves across Europe, President Donald Trump's pomp-filled welcome to Britain was overshadowed today by an explosive interview in which he blasted Prime Minister Theresa May, blamed London's mayor for terror attacks against the city and argued that Europe was "losing its culture" because of immigration.

He said he successfully pushed for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members to spend more of their budgets on defence and at a faster pace than expected. "I don't know that is what they voted for".

Dear @realDonaldTrump. US doesn't have and won't have a better ally than EU. Trump tweeted this morning before the second day of talks. The president began his visit with a blistering attack on Germany at a breakfast meeting with Stoltenberg Wednesday, claiming NATO's largest European country is "totally controlled by Russian Federation". He noted that he had met with Trump the evening before and they discussed increasing the USA troop presence in Poland.

Trump faced criticism from the remarks, including from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported Trump as saying "I'll do my own thing" if spending is not immediately increased. "There is a great, great spirit leaving that room". But also, that we are doing this already since many years.

That 2024 goal had been set in 2014.

Trump's demand that allies bolster their defense budgets to 2 percent of gross domestic product by January - an acceleration by six years of their current commitments - stunned his fellow leaders, who would have had to scramble their national spending to make the goal. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said this is not a formal proposal and that Trump had merely "suggested" this increase. That would be an interesting argument if Trump didn't have his own very public bromance with Russia's Vladimir Putin.

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As he flew off to the United Kingdom on Thursday for the next leg of his European tour, it was left to President Emmanuel Macron of France to correct the record following Trump's freewheeling press conference in which he claimed to have pushed allies into new defence spending commitments.

"There is a communiqué that was published yesterday". "It's very detailed. It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024". "The additional money they will be putting up has been really fantastic".

Trump had spent his time in Brussels berating members of the military alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defence, accusing Europe of freeloading off the US and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defence if they were attacked.

Trump reportedly went into the summit urging other members to bump that up to 4 percent.

At Thursday's press conference, he repeated an incorrect claim that the United States "pays for 70 to 90% of NATO". I don't. I'm very consistent.

"I'm a very stable genius", he said. Of course, the leaders of the USA and European countries had their photos taken together. Trump called those commitments a major victory; they were first made in 2014. He described the U.K.as a "hot-spot with lots of resignations".

Trump's trip to Britain will test the bonds of the U.S. and U.K.'s special relationship.

Then, in a head-snapping pivot at the end, on Thursday (Thursday night NZ Time) he declared the alliance a "fine-tuned machine" that had acceded to his demands to speed up increases in military spending.

"I think it's fine", Trump said when asked about the protests.

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