President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued his assault on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, again falsely stating that other members are delinquent as he attacked Germany for signing a Russia pipeline deal.
TRUMP AT NATO HEADQUARTERS
There was a stunning, public debate between Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who did praise the president for bringing the issue of defense spending to the fore.
Stoltenberg said that based on the national defense spending plans that Trump pushed NATO members to announce, there will be an additional $266 billion spent on defense through 2024.
Trump: “Now, if you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply. They got rid of their coal plants. They got rid of their nuclear. They’re getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia. I think it’s something that NATO has to look at. I think it’s very inappropriate. You and I agree that it’s inappropriate. I don’t know what you can do about it now, but it certainly doesn’t seem to make sense that they paid billions of dollars to Russia and now we have to defend them against Russia.”
Trump is referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would deliver more natural gas to Germany and also could negatively impact Ukraine’s finances, as their network would be sidestepped. What the president may be more concerned about is the pipeline would also reduce foreign demand for U.S. liquefied natural gas exports.
Stoltenberg: “You know, NATO is an alliance of 29 nations, and there are sometimes differences and different views, and also some disagreements. And the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany is one issue where allies disagree. But the strength of NATO is that despite these differences, we have always been able to unite around our core task, to protect and defend each other, because we understand that we are stronger together than apart.
“I think that two World Wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart.”
Trump: “But how can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the person you want protection against or from the group that you want protection?”
Stoltenberg: “Because we understand that when we stand together, also in dealing with Russia, we are stronger.”
The secretary-general pointed out that even during the Cold War, NATO allies traded with Russia, to which Trump replied that “energy is a whole different story” and that Poland has not signed such a deal.
In a joint statement, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called the Trump remarks an “embarrassment” and said it’s “another profoundly disturbing signal that the president is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies.”