Trump had an opportunity today to make amends for his absurd campaign claim that NATO is “obsolete,” and when he questioned why the United States was spending its own money to defend Europe and threatened to withdraw if other members failed to pay their “fair share.”
Which is why European leaders eagerly anticipated Trump’s speech today at the ceremony to dedicate a memorial to NATO’s resolve in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
But Trump blew it.
In his speech he gave no specific commitment to NATO. Instead, he publicly chastised his fellow alliance leaders for not being “fair” to U.S. taxpayers, saying “23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying,” and that they owe “massive amounts” from past years. “I have been very, very direct with Secretary Stoltenburg and members of the alliance in saying that NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations." Even the 2 percent of their gross domestic products that members have agreed to spend on defense is “insufficient,” he said. “Two percent is the bare minimum for confronting today’s very real and very vicious threats.”
Then Trump focused on driving terrorists out of Europe and not letting them back in, saying “all people who cherish life must unite in finding, exposing and removing these terrorists and extremists. And, yes, losers. They are losers. . . . Drive them out and never let them back in.”
Immediately after his speech, subdued European leaders gathered for a “family photograph” — a standard feature of such summits. As they chatted among themselves, Trump was left alone at the podium.
Trump continues to be an embarrassment.
Message to Europe: He doesn’t represent the views of most Americans. We’re doing all we can to get rid of him.
What do you think?