North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders interpret Trump's verbal lashing on spending

Urging Europe to Mirror America's Wasteful War Budget, Trump Tells NATO Leaders to Double Spending

Urging Europe to Mirror America's Wasteful War Budget, Trump Tells NATO Leaders to Double Spending

On Wednesday he told leaders behind closed doors that he wants them to spend 4 percent of GDP on defense, but not even the United States meets that target.

Still, European economies have been growing recently, making the 2 per cent of GDP target ever harder to achieve, and Trump's spending demand is at least in part aimed at drumming up business for the USA defence industry.

As well as Chancellor Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were also singled out by Mr Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when U.S. taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6% of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills.

Merkel stressed that Germany is NATO's second-biggest contributor when it comes to troops.

"He was in a good mood, he said Europe was a continent he appreciated", Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said of Trump at the evening event, at which leaders enjoyed an acrobatic display and saxophone music in a Brussels park. "The heart of Trump's message was positive", a French source told ABC.

At one point, Macron interrupted his speech for nearly a minute, waiting for Trump to finish his private conversation and refocus on the meeting.

Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield (Ret.) on President Trump's public attack against Germany over its gas pipeline deal with Russian Federation.

Asked by the press about his threat to leave NATO, Trump said he could do that "if that is necessary", but preferred to focus on the positive results for NATO as a result of his pressure.

"Yesterday, I let them know that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening and they have substantially upped their commitment", he said.

Trump says at a news conference Thursday in Brussels that he told "people" that he would be "very unhappy" if they didn't increase their commitments.

Johnson, a longtime owner of the NFL's New York Jets and a member of the family that founded Johnson & Johnson, said Trump was right to voice concerns at the Belgiun summit. Allies would be increasing spending by $33 billion or more, he added.

"They are going to up it to levels like they have never thought it before", the president said.

"I made clear that we know that we have to do more and that we have been doing so for quite a while".

"Military spending for any country", Koshagarian said, "should be determined by two things: real national security needs, and curbing waste and profit motives that drive military spending up without making us safer".

"The US makes, by far, the best military equipment in the world, the best jets, the best guns, the best everything", he said.

As NBC News' Peter Alexander points out, "Even the U.S. doesn't spend 4%".

Regarding his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump explained he is a competitor, not an enemy.

When asked about that, Trump said he believed he could do that without Congressional approval but it was "not necessary". I look forward to the meeting.

"I would like to thank all our nations for the efforts they are making".

Mr. Trump blamed his predecessor Barack Obama "who allowed it to happen".

He made very clear attacks against Germany and warned that if North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries did not meet a goal of raising their defence spending to two percent of their national GDP by January 2019, the United States would go it alone.

One diplomat said something appeared to have irritated Trump, a suggestion from another leader or possibly a report in the news media that he had not gotten his way. Bulgarian President Rumen Radev described the atmosphere on Wednesday as "not the most pleasant".

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