BRUSSELS—President Donald Trump on Wednesday reiterated his call for allies to increase their defense spending at the outset of this week’s NATO summit, while sharply criticizing Germany for supporting a major gas deal with Russia.
Speaking at the start of a meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s secretary-general, Trump said the U.S. was “spending far too much” on defense. He claimed credit for NATO allies increasing their military spending in the past year, but said: “That’s not nearly enough. I have great confidence that they’ll spend more.”
Stoltenberg said Wednesday morning that the leaders would discuss “important issues” at the summit, including defense spending. “The good news is that allies have started to invest more in defense.”
In the meeting, Trump rebuked Germany, which has frequently been a target of his ire, for supporting Nord Stream 2, an offshore pipeline that would bring gas directly from Russia via the Baltic Sea.
“Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia because it’s getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump said. Turning to Stoltenberg, he said: “Explain that. We’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia.”
A NATO official said that expectations were very low for the summit, given Trump’s unabashed criticism of Germany. “The mood ahead of the G-7 was also quite bad and still it ended worse than expected,” the official said.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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