Trump Gets 'Chilly Reception' From European Leaders

The president criticized NATO allies directly during speech
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2017 12:26 PM CDT
Trump Blasts NATO Leaders for 'Chronic Underpayments'
US President Donald Trump speaks as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg looks on during a ceremony at NATO headquarters at the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

President Trump chided NATO leaders to their faces Thursday for "chronic underpayments" to the organization, the New York Times reports. "Members of the alliance must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations," CNN quotes Trump as saying during the opening of a new NATO headquarters. Per the BBC, Trump said other NATO countries owe "massive amounts of money," and that's "not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States." Only five of 28 NATO members are putting the agreed-upon 2% of their GDP toward defense spending. Trump also didn't recommit the US to NATO's mutual defense pledge, which leaves other NATO countries to wonder if the US will automatically assist them if they're attacked.

NATO leaders didn't appear pleased by Trump's speech, and the Times reports the US president got a "chilly reception" from European leaders. Trump reportedly disagreed with his European counterparts on climate, trade, and Russia. Cameras also caught Trump apparently shoving a NATO leader out of the way so he could get to the front of the stage, according to Mediaite. That Trump wasn't more warmly welcomed wasn't exactly a surprise: The speech took place in Brussels, a city Trump once called a "hellhole" following a terrorist attack. And he gave the speech in front of a new 9/11 memorial. The Sept. 11 attacks were the only time NATO has invoked the mutual defense provision—backing the US in Afghanistan—that Trump declined to state his support for. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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