As Trump slams North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, ambassador says Europeans are 'stepping up' on funding

Cheryl Sanders
July 10, 2018

European Council President Donald Tusk holds a joint press conference July 10, 2018.

As he heads to Europe on a week-long trip that will culminate in a meeting with Vladimir Putin, President Trump was asked point-blank how he views the Russian president who attacked America during the 2016 USA elections.

Responding to criticism from Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, who complained that Trump is "criticizing Europe nearly daily", Trump says the United States is "being taken advantage of" by the European Union. But Trump's claim that the US pays 90 per cent of NATO's total defense spending isn't corroborated by available data. "Europeans spend on defense many times more than Russia and as much as China and I think you can have no doubt, Mr. President, that this is an investment in common American and European defense and security which cannot be said with confidence about Russian or Chinese spending", Tusk said.

On July 16, United States and Russian Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will hold their first summit together in Helsinki.

At one point, Trump was asked if Putin should be considered a friend or foe.

However, he added that he had a "very good relationship" with Mrs May.

The president took a variety of questions pertaining to the upcoming summit in Finland, along with visits to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the UK. "Thank you to all of my great supporters, really big progress being made", Trump tweeted.

Trump is pushing for other countries to spend more on their own defense, while taking credit for some increases that have already occurred.

Trump's comments come the day after U.S. NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison said efforts to prod members into increasing their defense spending are finding success.

While Mr Trump is looking to improve relations with Russian Federation, there has been alarm at the deteriorating climate with his allies in Europe and what he might agree to with President Putin. We're people. Will I be prepared? "So I don't know exactly what he is putting together in that ... but I know that there are many different areas where we are a dual objective", she said.

The comments could heighten fears among US allies and lawmakers that Trump could make too many concessions to Russian Federation while antagonizing European partners.

The US president bit back on Twitter, writing: "NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS". Stresses faced by the European Union, in major part because of the flow of refugees from the Middle East produced largely by the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, are also major threats to European security and directly benefit Putin.

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