President Trump Holds Lie-Filled Press Conference, Then Leaves NATO Summit
Day one of the NATO summit on Wednesday was plagued with misrepresentations and unfounded insults directed at America’s closest allies. From accusing Germany of being “a captive of Russia” to obfuscating the purpose of NATO, President Trump was in peak “dismantle the US-led, post-WWI, liberal world order” form. All of this before President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16th, a foreign adversary who has a vested interest in a weak NATO.
On Thursday morning in Brussels, President Trump continued. The Washington Post reported:
In the closed-door session, Trump told his counterparts that if they did not meet their 2 percent targets by January, the United States would go it alone, according to two officials briefed on the meeting. The officials said Trump threatened to “do his own thing.” The comments appeared open to interpretation, and some officials said they never felt Trump was threatening a full pullout from NATO.
Another official who was in the room said Trump read out the spending figures for every single NATO nation, sometimes telling leaders sarcastically: “My friend, you’re so nice to me. I’m sorry you’re spending so little.”
At the press conference that followed, however, President Trump struck a different tone, saying that a lot was accomplished and that NATO was stronger than it was a few days ago.
Trump’s #NATOSummit presser:
—Touts NATO nations’ commitment moving to 2% of GDP (they already agreed before summit…)
—Says US is at 4.2% (it’s at 3.58%)
—Says he‘ll “ask” Putin if he meddled and he’s not his enemy
—Calls himself a “very stable genius”https://t.co/9lPu1EC25w
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) July 12, 2018
President Trump claimed that the NATO nations agreed to increase their defense commitment to 2% of their GDP (which was already previously agreed upon in 2014 according to NATO’s own joint communique released on Wednesday). The target date to meet that commitment is 2024. During the press conference, Trump claimed that the NATO nations were working on meeting the deadline quicker and agreed to even larger defense spending. French President Emmanuel Macron contradicted Trump’s characterization.
BRUSSELS (AP) — French President Macron denies Trump claim that NATO powers agreed to increase defense spending beyond previous targets.
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) July 12, 2018
President Trump’s assertion that America’s commitment to NATO is at 4.2% of GDP is also false, as it’s set to be at 3.58%.
Furthermore, President Trump’s comments about President Putin not being an enemy was noteworthy, given his comments about the media.
President Trump, on the national stage at NATO, says Russian President Putin is not his enemy.
President Trump, throughout his presidency, has repeatedly called the American press the enemy of the American people. https://t.co/oljMCArKRD
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) July 12, 2018
President Trump’s overall comments about NATO being a burden are also misguided and showcase an ignorance of history. Anyone who knows their history is aware that the post-WWII order was crafted by the United States. NATO was founded 70 years ago to promote the shared values of democracy and uphold the common security of the West. America’s disproportionate investments in NATO yield dividends in American dominance. Not to mention an alliance that has come to America’s defense (see Article 5’s invocation after 9/11). NATO currently deters hostile maneuvers from none other than Russia.
It appears President Trump was posturing for a fight at NATO in an attempt to appear as if he obtained a “win” at the summit, in spite of accomplishing little. Now, President Trump is in London. Then, he heads off to meet with the Russian President who interfered in American democracy to help get him elected.