Trump shames NATO allies on defense spending at ceremony
Published on May 25, 2017 at 08:10AM by Jonathan Stearns, Margaret Talev and Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg U.S. President Donald Trump hectored NATO leaders to pay their “fair share” on defence to help counter the terrorist threat, in a public shaming that risked souring a ceremony intended to mark the alliance’s unity. Citing this week’s attack in the English city of Manchester, Trump told fellow alliance leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel that NATO should focus its efforts on combating terrorism. Trump’s rebuke of mainly European allies for not spending the recommended 2 percent of GDP on defence came during a ceremony marking the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S., when NATO invoked for the first and only time its mutual-defense clause.
The remarks set the tone for Trump’s first visit to a NATO meeting, and in many ways, confirmed European officials’ worst fears about the blunt-spoken new president. Trump’s comments may disappoint some officials in Europe who had hoped that the U.S. president would offer a public endorsement of NATO’s mutual-defense doctrine at the ceremony that honored Article 5, as the provision is known.
Merkel, who stood emotionless during the speech, earlier issued her own challenge to the U.S. president, saying that member states including Germany had already pledged to work toward the 2 percent target by 2024 and that outlays on security more generally also count toward the goal.
Spicer said that #NATO members in the closed session had recommitted to try reach the 2 percent defence spending goal, calling it a “very positive reaction and affirmation of the president’s priorities.”
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