Fact Check: Trump's Claims On NATO Spending

Cheryl Sanders
July 12, 2018

While the United States and Europe have historically been close military and economic allies, President Donald Trump has upended that order by repeatedly taking Europe to task over defense spending and trade while pursuing a closer USA relationship with adversary Russian President Vladimir Putin.

President Trump didn't let up Wednesday on his attacks on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders for failing to cough up enough money for defense spending, lashing out on Twitter at allies about fulfilling their commitment between meetings and an official dinner.

The president's tweet about Germany came after he had what he described as a "great meeting" with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Trump's comment that "Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they are getting 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline" appeared to misstate German energy use - about 20 percent of which is accounted for by oil and gas imports from Russia. Members have pledged to get to 2 percent, but most countries are well off the mark - something Trump campaigned to change.

Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to increase military spending, accusing Europe of freeloading off the USA and even raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense as required if they were ever attacked.

Referring to her own past living in the now defunct East Germany, Ms Merkel added: "I personally experienced how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union".

Earlier, Mr Trump criticised Germany over its defence spending and energy reliance on Russian Federation.

U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018.

"President Trump makes public adversaries out of our friends, and turns our adversary, who has been attacking America's democracy, into his fawned-over ally. So, you tell me, is that appropriate?" At breakfast he had spoken of Germany as a "captive" of Russian Federation because of the two countries' energy relationship, which he labelled "inappropriate".

"You know, we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France". Asked if they had discussed the pipeline, he said they had, but declined to elaborate. "And I think that leaders are also looking forward to your thoughts about the meeting with President Putin later on".

Trump also is expected to meet with French president Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Other reports by iNewsToday