Donald Trump claimed victory at the Nato summit, saying progress had been made on defence spending after throwing the Brussels meeting into chaos with fresh attacks on European allies.
U.S. President Donald Trump says he probably can withdraw the U.S. from NATO but that such a step is “unnecessary.”
Published reports Thursday said Trump had threatened during the NATO summit in Brussels to pull the U.S. out of the military alliance in a dispute over defense spending.
Trump says at a news conference that he was “extremely unhappy” with the situation, but that alliance members have upped their commitment in response to his complaints.
Asked whether he’s still threatening to pull out of NATO and whether he can do so without buy-in from Congress, Trump said: “I think I probably can but that’s unnecessary.”
The US president’s outburst led to the scrapping of a series of planned press conferences and bilateral meetings as European leaders struggled to respond. Theresa May and Angela Merkel cancelled press conferences.
Trump turned up late for the morning sessions involving Nato leaders, intended to discuss the accession of Ukraine and Georgia to the alliance. When he delivered his rebuke over defence spending, the Ukrainian and Georgian leaders were asked to leave because it was a purely Nato matter.
Soon after, the meeting broke up. European leaders retreated to their offices for discussion with their officials.
UPDATED: President Donald Trump plans to make a statement at the NATO summit in Brussels.
The White House says the president will address reporters before he departs for the United Kingdom, the next stop on his weeklong visit to Europe.
The statement follows tense discussions at the summit over Trump’s criticism of most NATO allies for not spending 2 percent of their GDP on defense as well as his demand that they immediately double such spending. Trump also criticized Germany over a natural gas pipeline deal with Russia.
Two officials at the summit say the alliance is currently meeting in an emergency session amid Trump’s demands.
Reuters reported that U.S. President Donald Trump launched a fresh attack on NATO allies’ failure to raise defence spending on Thursday, prompting leaders to huddle in a special session excluding other summit participants.
AP News reports that the alliance is holding emergency talks amid Trump’s demands for increase in what is deemed as ‘defence spending’.
FT reported that Trump on Thursday tweeted that “Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russia. They pay only a fraction of their cost. The U.S. pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe, and loses Big on Trade!
The renewed attack came the day after the US president stunned leaders at the annual Nato summit by saying Germany was “captive” to Moscow because of its Russian gas imports, in televised remarks that Mr Trump would have known would be widely broadcast.
The tirade was carried on in the meetings of this morning where at one point, in a break with diplomatic protocol, a Reuters source said Trump addressed German Chancellor Merkel by her first name and told her: “Angela, you need to do something about this.”
Earlier there were reports that Trump threatened of withdrawing from NATO. However Reuters reported that “President Donald Trump did not threaten to pull out of NATO at the second day of a summit on Thursday, despite a tough rebuke of allies for spending too little on defence, two NATO sources told Reuters.”
Asked if he had issued the threat to quit the military alliance, both sources said: “No”.