Reversing the harsh criticisms he has leveled at NATO, President Trump says the alliance is very strong – in part because of promises from America’s allies to boost their military budgets to 2 percent of their gross domestic product. Trump called those commitments a major victory; they were first made in 2014.
After raising the threat of the U.S. leaving NATO, Trump said on Thursday that there are no problems, adding that America’s allies had pledged to increase defense spending commitments “very substantially.”
“We are doing numbers like they’ve never done before or ever seen before,” Trump said.
The number that the president mentioned – 2 percent of countries’ GDP – was in fact a main product of NATO meetings four years ago, when member nations pledged to either maintain the threshold or to meet it by 2024 – a deadline that seemingly still stands after this week’s NATO sessions.
Trump’s comments came in a wide-ranging news conference after attending a special meeting on defense spending during the NATO summit in Brussels. In it, he discussed his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin; his efforts to broker a lasting deal with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; and the immigration crisis that has been playing out in Europe.
Trump said his planned session with Putin would be a loose meeting with “no big schedule” – but one that could still be productive.
“I think meeting people is great,” Trump said.
Responding to a reporter’s question about his consistency in how he comments on pressing global issues, Trump replied, “I’m very consistent. I’m a very stable genius.”