President Donald Trump came out swinging ahead of today’s NATO summit by slamming Germany for not spending enough on defense and accusing the country of being “captive” to Russia.
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia,” Trump said in a searing critique of Germany’s gas pipeline deal with the country NATO calls its greatest threat to their alliance.
“I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where — we’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump said.
“So we’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France, we’re protecting all of these countries and then numerous of these countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia,” Trump said.
“So we’re supposed to protect you against Russia, but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia. I think that’s very inappropriate.”
Trump was referring to the controversial $12 billion proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany.
Sitting at the table with the president were Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chief of Staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison, Trump defended his public reprimanding of allied countries over their defense spending.
“This has been brought up by other presidents. But other presidents never did anything about it because I don’t think they’d up it or wanted to get involved,” Trump said.
“I have to bring it up because it’s unfair to our country or our taxpayers. I think these countries have to step it up, not over a 10-year period, but immediately.”
Trump has called on allied countries to meet or exceed the 2014 Wales summit goal of spending 2 percent GDP on defense spending.
According to a NATO report released yesterday, eight of the 29 member nations are expected to reach that goal by the end of 2018.