U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron meet at Winfield House during the NATO summit in London on Tuesday. Photo: AP/Evan Vucci
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Trump barrels into NATO summit, clashes with France's Macron

46 Comments
By AAMER MADHANI and ZEKE MILLER

Thumping his chest on the world stage as he faces an impeachment inquiry at home, President Donald Trump claimed credit Tuesday for transforming NATO as the military alliance marks its 70th anniversary. But he also clashed with America's NATO allies, especially French President Emmanuel Macron, about defense spending and the alliance's very mission.

Trump began the first of two days at the NATO conference by publicly rebuking Macron, once arguably his closest European ally, for recently saying the post-World War II alliance was experiencing “brain death” as a result of diminished U.S. leadership under Trump.

“I think that’s insulting to a lot of different forces,” said Trump. “It's very disrespectful.” But the president himself has questioned whether the alliance has become “obsolete,” and he accused NATO members anew of shirking national commitments on military spending.

Hours later, Macron and Trump sat side by side for a media session, and Macron said he stood by his comments about the health of the NATO alliance. He also firmly expressed his frustration that Trump withdrew hundreds of American troops from Syria in October

The U.S. president bantered with reporters for more than two hours Tuesday, sitting casually in a salon of Winfield House, the manicured estate of the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, where he also met with fellow NATO leaders.

He slammed the ongoing Democratic-led impeachment inquiry back in the United States as a “”hoax” and professed to be unconcerned about declines in the stock market spurred by his remark that a trade deal with China might not materialize until after the 2020 election.

Trump later called on Prince Charles and his wife Camilla and attended a NATO welcome reception at Buckingham Palace, before proceeding to an event at the prime minister's residence at Number 10 Downing Street. Trump punctuated the day of diplomacy with a fundraiser for his reelection effort that his campaign said brought in $3 million.

The gathering of NATO leaders follows Trump's frequent criticism of alliance members as falling well short in doing their financial part through the first three years of his presidency.

After a NATO summit last year, he called for members devote at least 4% of gross domestic product to military spending and took aim at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom he accused of paying Russia ‘"billions of dollars for gas and energy” while failing to meet her nation's commitment to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense.

But at this NATO meeting, Trump — who heads toward an election year looking to showcase foreign policy wins — is offering a more optimistic outlook for the alliance’s future. To that end, he suggested he deserved much of the credit for progress.

“I don't think frankly before us that NATO was changing at all, and NATO is really changing right now,” Trump said as he sat down for a one-on-one talk with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

White House officials say that before Trump took office just four NATO members had reached the 2% benchmark set in 2014. Now there are nine, Eighteen of the 29 are projected to meet it by 2024.

Stoltenberg said that Trump does deserve credit for nudging members.

“The reality is that, not least because it has been so clearly conveyed from President Trump that we need fair burden sharing, allies are stepping up,” Stoltenberg said.

In his meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump gently ribbed the premier — whose country is spending about 1.3% of GDP on defense — as “slightly delinquent.”

“Some are major delinquent,” said Trump. He added that he’s looking at the possibility of imposing unspecified trade penalties against NATO allies that perpetually fall below benchmarks.

“Some are way below 1 percent and that’s unacceptable, and then if something happens we’re supposed to protect them and it’s not really fair and it never has been fair,” he said.

Trump's talks with Macron were tense at times.

Before meeting with him on the sidelines of the summit, Trump laced into the French president for what he called “very, very nasty” comments in The Economist about NATO's health with Trump leading its most important member.

Macron didn't back down when they appeared later in the day, and he renewed his own criticism of Trump for withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria.

That decision by Trump, made without consulting France or other NATO allies, gave Turkey, another NATO member, a green light to launch operations against Syrian Kurdish forces who played a key role in the fight to clear a huge swath of Syria of the Islamic State.

Trump and Macron have had an up-and-down relationship in the nearly three years Trump’s been in office.

Macron, who early in Trump’s presidency had looked to cultivate a close relationship, hosted Trump in 2017 for Bastille Day celebrations in Paris. Trump reciprocated by honoring Macron last year with the first state visit of a foreign leader during his time in the White House.

As they answered questions from reporters, the new stress was most apparent as they discussed their concerns over Turkey's plan to purchase an anti-aircraft missile system from Russia.

Macron said there is a disconnect in allowing Turkey to buy the system from Russia and also be a NATO member. Trump said he is weighing issuing sanctions against Ankara if it moves forward with plans to buy the weapons.

Ahead of the meeting, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would oppose a NATO plan to defend the Baltic region if the alliance does not back Turkey in its fight against Kurdish groups it considers terrorists.

“I’m sorry to say we don’t have the same definition of terrorism around the table,” Macron said in a swipe at Turkey.

Trump showed more deference to Erdogan, saying that Turkey was “very helpful” during the October U.S. commando raid that led to the death IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi near the Syria-Turkey border.

“We flew over areas that were totally controlled by Turkey and Turkish military,” Trump said. "We didn’t tell them what we were doing or where we were going. Turkey could not have been nicer, could not have been more supportive.”

At another point in their extended comments before the news media, Trump and Macron had a curt exchange about the repatriation of Islamic State fighters who are European citizens and were captured in Syria and Iraq in recent years. Trump has pressed unsuccessfully for European nations to accept fighters captured by U.S. forces.

“Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? I can give them to you,” Trump said. “You can take every one you want.”

“Let’s be serious,” Macron responded. “Your number one problem are not the foreign fighters.''

Trump retorted, “'That's one of the greatest non-answers I've ever heard. And, that's OK.”

After such exchanges, however, Trump gave Macron, along with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, a ride in his armored presidential limo from the queen’s reception at Buckingham Palace to another gathering hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at No. 10 Downing St.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

46 Comments

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If he wasn't the president of the US, he would have been admitted to the psychiatric unit at Bellevue , and we would never have had to read this!

I only hope that the NATO leaders understand this!

20 ( +24 / -4 )

trump is flogging a dead horse.

trump has a trumps view on N A T O.

Nobody else agrees at all on trumps stand.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Trump is a complete and utter fool. As he shakes hands with the competent leaders from around the world and looks them in the eye we can all imagine that they want him impeached as much as the rest of us.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

U.S. President Donald Trump barreled into a NATO leaders' meeting on Tuesday 

continuing his mission to further weaken NATO and US alliances with 'western' European nations, aka former historical allies, to allow the Russian Federation's Eurasian Economic Union and Russia's state controlled gas, oil and coal industries easier access to and more control over the European market. Trump's a Brexit backer knowing that with the UK leaving the EU the EU will be weaker, again making it easier for Russia to move in, especially with Russia joining forces with China's Belt and Road. Russia and China working as 'best friends (Yandex Xi Putin best friends) could create the most powerful empire the world has seen. And Russia has the nuclear weapons to reinforce the empire's global reach.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Maybe PT is right and this is all part of a master plan set up by a global cabal.

Or maybe not.

-15 ( +0 / -15 )

All there is to say has been said above.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

@burningbusthis is all part of a master plan set up by a global cabal.

Exactly. The global alt right's plan to establish global control in plain view. Trump and his fellow GOP turncoats (McConnell, Graham, Kennedy etal) have been well paid by 'foreign meddlers', sold their country down the drain for a few million dollars more.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

So why didn’t Macron say he will take back all French ISIS fighters? It’s a valid question which he dodged. You don’t get to only deal with the “#1 problem” at this leve

-17 ( +1 / -18 )

“Let’s be serious,” Macron responded. “Your number one problem are not the foreign fighters.''

It's strange to me that Trump keeps spreading the falsehood about the number of foreign fighters from Europe involved in the conflict. In this interview he said, "Many are from France, many from Germany, and many are from U.K. They're mostly from Europe".

Trump fans: Has Trump not been told these people are actually a tiny minority, or do you think he's making up his own reality on the spot which he wants to believe?

9 ( +12 / -3 )

When I want my 2 year old to do something she doesn’t want to sometimes I use reverse psychology and pretend I don’t want her to do it. Then she does it.

Macron here proves that the same strategy works on Trump. Want to make him like NATO? Just pretend that you don’t.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

The "orange elephant" is at it again!

He should have stayed at home (Mar....whatever) and enjoyed golfing.

Because that's what he is "best" at!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Isis members are responsible for threats, deaths and injuries on an ongoing basis.-many radicalized in Europe.

US forces have captured many and Macron doesn’t want them back-not a surprise that!

And Donald Trump knows that the Europeans should be paying more for their own protection.President Trump is fulfilling his campaign pledge to save US taxpayers’ money and he is doing just that!

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

Let’s be serious

Trump isn’t capable of being honest, let alone serious.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Still no answer about why he deflected on the answer. His country not even fighting there, are they? It’s the least they could to take back their citizens. Even if it’s 1 person.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Trump has done very little for NATO, first attacking it and now claiming credit. The defense spending agreement was reached before he was president. I think he did introduce some more troops/tanks in Poland and Germany.

The only real truth would be Trump wanting to sell more weapons.

Denied knowing Prince Andrew even though there are several photos of him and Melania with him.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Yeah the agreement maybe.

But no one was paying until Trump arrived and called them out. 100 billion more paid to support NATO since Trump.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

Macron's arrogance. He thinks the US and US' leaders are below him. His ambition is to be the leader of the EU and rise above the influence of the US.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

There's nothing to pay. The agreement is countries spend 2% of GDP on their defense by 2024.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I don't like President Trump's blustery, irreverent style. Personally I'd prefer a more statesman like figure as a President and leader of the free world.

But unfortunately the west has been going down hill socially and economically for a generation having been led by weak leaders like the Bushes, Obama, Blair, Merkel, Macron, Trudeau, etc. It's an unfortunate necessary evil that a bulldozer like President Trump arrives on the scene to shake things up, wake people up out of thier media induced stupor, tell the elites off and get something done for the little guys.

Unemployment (especially for minorities) at historical lows, improved border security, skyrocketing stockmarket, ISIS routed (saving many lives), peaceful engagement with dangerous foreign leaders, etc.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Trump the Traitor carrying out his orders from his Master Putin. Destabilize NATO so Russia can operate freely to invade and regain old Soviet territories and increase its influence around the world.

And its in plain sight for all to see - he insults and disparages our allies, and back-slaps and sucks up to Putin.

And his supporters here just try to excuse or close their eyes to it all.

It's a cult of personality no different than any other third-world dictator tyrant...with the strings all pulled from Moscow..

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Trump's pressure has increased the spending target countries by four. 9 countries have reached the target.

America should be reducing its massive defense budget.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If he were on Putin’s side wouldn’t he be telling leaders NOT to fund NATO and only having USA pay bare minimum?

But don’t let that bother your narrative.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

A picture is worth a thousand words: Macron is trying to put as much distance as possible between himself and "the stable genius" who looks like a grumpy old man waiting for his "Forbes magazine" session.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Trump barrels into NATO summit

Thumping his chest on the world stage

Good grief, who writes this stuff? Checking...

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Trump barrels into NATO summit

Thumping his chest on the world stage

Good grief, who writes this stuff? Checking...

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press

Sure, compared to alt-right fairly tales on the State News far wing media...

"The world's greatest and slimmest leader arrived in London today to adulation by millions of adoring supporters. His stable genius was on full display when he commented on trade negotiations with China which caused an immediate increase on world stock markets. His overflowing charisma charmed all his European counterparts. And he made a strong rebuke and threat to Putin over Russia's continued invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea"....

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Trump barrels into NATO summit

Thumping his chest on the world stage

What you think he did otherwise Har.....

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Haha. Lincolnman, this is exactly what the state run media of the fascist Trump regime would write up:

"The world's greatest and slimmest leader arrived in London today to adulation by millions of adoring supporters. His stable genius was on full display when he commented on trade negotiations with China which caused an immediate increase on world stock markets. His overflowing charisma charmed all his European counterparts. And he made a strong rebuke and threat to Putin over Russia's continued invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea"....

I realize it's written in humor, but all the Trumpets don't realize this is the lies they live. Ignorance is bliss.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Macron's arrogance. He thinks the US and US' leaders are below him.

Whereas we all know, of course, that the natural state of things is that the US and US leaders are above the rest, right?

His ambition is to be the leader of the EU and rise above the influence of the US.

If only. We can only hope.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

TRUMP, speaking about claims that Britain’s state-funded health care system would be part of future U.K.-U.S. trade talks: “I don’t even know where that rumor started. We have absolutely nothing to do with it and we wouldn’t want to. If you handed it to us on a silver platter, we want nothing to do with it.” — remarks with Jens Stoltenberg.

THE FACTS: He’s referring to his own past statements as a “rumor.”

Asked about the National Health Service during a visit to Britain in June, he said “when you’re dealing in trade, everything’s on the table. So, NHS or anything else.”

5 ( +6 / -1 )

He kind of has a point that the US seems to do most of the heavy lifting for NATO and has a number of EU nationals in custody who went on Jihad....

Macron may say its not that many but even one that France or wherever refuses to take back is enough.  look at the damage caused by just one lunatic in all of the recent attacks in EU countries.

NATO is an organization looking for a purpose, hence all of the "interventions" that have caused nothing but misery for millions around the world.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

lincolnman: "The world's greatest and slimmest leader arrived in London today to adulation by millions of adoring supporters. His stable genius was on full display when he commented on trade negotiations with China which caused an immediate increase on world stock markets. His overflowing charisma charmed all his European counterparts. And he made a strong rebuke and threat to Putin over Russia's continued invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea"....

sunfunbun: I realize it's written in humor

Attempted humor. Humorless parody, like Adam's Schiff's parody in Congress of Trump's phone call to Zelensky. It was actually closer to Quid Pro Joe's boasting that a billion dollars in aid to Ukraine would be withheld unless the prosecutor who was investigating his son was fired.

CrazyJoe: Trump is a complete and utter fool.

The "complete and utter fool" is going to be re-elected in a landslide after the failed attempt by the Democrats to remove him from office.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Trump is a complete and utter fool. 

Macron is not exactly the shining epitome of what someone would call competent.

As he shakes hands with the competent leaders

ROFL!

from around the world and looks them in the eye we can all imagine that they want him impeached as much as the rest of us.

I don’t even think most Europeans even know what that is or that Trump being impeached is only symbolic and won’t get him convicted or removed from office. Trump really looks more than confident and competent dealing with this farce.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

In point of fact, Macron took fat Donnie to the woodshed in public. He can dish it out when he's toilet tweeting, but can't stand up like a man and defend himself in person. Petty, vindictive, and small, it was simply a matter of time until he was marginalized by the rest of the world’s (respectable) leaders. Think about that for a moment - the President of the United States, now a person to be casually dismissed by allies and foes alike. What a disgrace Trump is. What an embarrassment. What a putz.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

 it was simply a matter of time until he was marginalized by the rest of the world’s (respectable) leaders. Think about that for a moment - the President of the United States, now a person to be casually dismissed by allies and foes alike.

You can hate Trump all you want, but to say he is now a person to be casually dismissed by allies and foes alike is delusional.

What a disgrace Trump is. What an embarrassment. What a putz.

What a Boss.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

sunfunbun: I realize it's written in humor

Attempted humor. Humorless parody, like Adam's Schiff's parody in Congress of Trump's phone call to Zelensky. It was actually closer to Quid Pro Joe's boasting that a billion dollars in aid to Ukraine would be withheld unless the prosecutor who was investigating his son was fired.

It's so easy to get under Trumper's skin - just like their Sainted Leader....LOL...

CrazyJoe: Trump is a complete and utter fool.

The "complete and utter fool" is going to be re-elected in a landslide after the failed attempt by the Democrats to remove him from office.

Another convert! Serrano calls Donnie a "complete and utter fool".... Hi Fives! Now we need to work on the other Trumpers here to de-program themselves.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

President Trump is fulfilling his campaign pledge to save US taxpayers’ money and he is doing just that!

and yet the deficit has grown to over $22trillion which is estimated to be about $5trillion over his first term at that rate its growing faster than when Obama was in office, main point is Obama did it when the US economy was in tatters after the 2008 GFC, Trumps doing it while the US economy is strong

https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296

meanwhile US manufacturing continues to decline even under Trump

https://www.ccn.com/the-frightening-collapse-of-american-manufacturing-continues/

facts are a biatch when your trying to spread that fake propaganda hey

7 ( +7 / -0 )

and yet the deficit has grown to over $22trillion which is estimated to be about $5trillion over his first term at that rate its growing faster than when Obama was in office, main point is Obama did it when the US economy was in tatters after the 2008 GFC, Trumps doing it while the US economy is strong.

And during Obama’s reign consumer shopping, trade,international business investments and lowered corporate tax rate didn’t exist now that all that has changed in the economy remains on steroids, this looks like a very bountiful Christmas and the retail stores look extremely excited about the increase sales that will happen, which didn’t happen under the previous administration where we had a very slow and sluggish economy.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

And during Obama’s reign consumer shopping ... didn’t exist 

Are you seriously trying to claim that for eight years not a single person went shopping?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Trump has also stated he wants Japan to pay more for the U.S. bases.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Are you seriously trying to claim that for eight years not a single person went shopping?

No, but during those sluggish years, retail and international wasn’t doing good back then and now they are.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Obama inherited a bankrupt economy from Bush, the greatest collapse since 1928. Millions lost more than 50% of their Trust Pensions or homes because they couldn't make the mortgage. My own parents had to sell off a lot of property just to survive.

The Trumpers are blaming Obama when in fact the responsibility was Bush.

By the end of his presidency he reduced the unemployment rate to a record low and more than Trump has managed in his three years.

Obama created more jobs than Trump unless you believe his claim in New York, that his daughter Ivanka has created 14 million new American jobs when the total from the Labor Dept states 6 million new jobs.

Trump will take the level of the National Debt to over $30 trillion.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

No, but during those sluggish years, retail and international wasn’t doing good back then and now they are.

What you said was they didn't exist. You lied.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

And during Obama’s reign consumer shopping, trade, international business investments and lowered corporate tax rate didn’t exist

So did everyone just sleep for 8 years or they went on vacation?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

which didn’t happen under the previous administration where we had a very slow and sluggish economy.

yep wars in Iraq and unregulated financial markets that brought about the 2008 GFC will do that, yet Obama still managed to grow the economy for 8yrs under those conditions, Trumps got the best conditions possible yet he still spending more than Obama. $1.5trillion tax cut has to be paid for eventually. Now just imagine if the US economy hits a downturn , Id hate to predict what the US deficit will look like under Trump

5 ( +5 / -0 )

No, but during those sluggish years, retail and international wasn’t doing good back then and now they are.

yep $6trillion wiped from financial markets as a result of the GFC, yet some still think it was Obama's fault. lol. I think he did a good job considering the mountain of poop he was left to clean up.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

True success is one created not one bought from the National Debt.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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