- "I find it very offensive," Trump said during a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before the organization's 70th anniversary summit in London.
- Trump again demanded that Europe pay more for defense and also make concessions to US trade interests.
- In addition to meeting with Macron, Trump will go to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday to commemorate NATO's founding.
On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump described French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that NATO was “brain dead” as “very offensive.” In an interview with The Economist in November, Macron stated that NATO is in a “brain dead” state, due to a lack of strategic coordination between European allies on the one hand, and the United States and Turkey on the other.
In addition, the French president criticized Turkey’s October invasion of Kurdish territories in Syria, calling it “crazy.” Turkey’s action was intended to combat both the Islamic State (IS) and People’s Protection Units (YPG), and took place two days after Trump ordered US troops to withdraw from the region.
“I find it very offensive,” Trump said during a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before the organization’s 70th anniversary summit in London began. “Nobody needs NATO more than France. It’s a very dangerous statement for them to make,” he said. “I think they have a very high unemployment rate in France. France is not doing well economically at all.” he added.
Trump will meet with Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday to discuss with the president of France the complaints against the organization. Underlining the size of the quarrel in the transatlantic bloc, and praised by its supporters as the most successful military alliance in history, Trump again demanded that Europe pay more for defense and also make concessions to US trade interests. Explicitly linking his complaint that Europe does not pay enough for NATO security missions to its firm defense of Washington’s trade interests, part of its “America First” policy, Trump said it is time for the continent to “take hold” in two fronts.
“It is not right to be abused in NATO and also to be abused in trade, and that is what happens. We can’t let that happen,” he said of transatlantic disputes, ranging from the aerospace industry to a European digital services tax on US technology giants. Minimizing recent signs that Germany is willing to do more to meet NATO’s target of spending 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, Trump accused Berlin and other capitals of investing less than the goal of being “offenders.”
Trump’s attack came just hours after divisions broke out between other members of the organization. Turkey has vowed to oppose a NATO plan to defend Baltic states unless NATO supports them by recognizing the YPG Kurdish militia as a terrorist group. YPG fighters are longtime US allies in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria. Ankara considers her an enemy because of her ties to Kurdish insurgents in south-eastern Turkey.
In addition to meeting with Macron, Trump will go to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday to attend the reception offered by Queen Elizabeth II to the leaders attending the summit, with which they will remember the founding of NATO to ensure the safety of Europe and North America afterwards. from World War II. Queen Elizabeth II will welcome the leaders at Buckingham Palace, but even the British hosts, who for generations have been among NATO’s most enthusiastic supporters, are disunited about their EU exit project and distracted by an aggressive election to be held in Britain next week.