President Trump is diving deep into the art of the deal at the NATO meeting in Brussels this week. He asked member nations to double their defense spending to 4 percent of their varying GDPs.
His demand was disclosed by the president of the Bulgarian government.
Sarah Sanders, Trump’s White House spokeswoman, confirmed the request to reporters. She claimed that it was not a new position for the U.S. president.
The president has criticized U.S. allies for continually failing to meet a 2 percent goal, which is a much lower standard than their nations agreed upon before he took office.
So Trump has now demanded that they raise their contributions to 4 percent. It came as a surprise during the first meeting of this week’s Brussels summit.
“President Trump, who spoke first, raised the issue not only to achieve 2 percent, today, but a new barrier – 4 percent,” Bulgarian President Rumen Radev told reporters.
Bloomberg left out the part where Radev said that Trump spoke first and added a note from the Bulgarian leader that the U.S. president left the meeting immediately after his own remarks.
Radev charged: “He just left after he announced that.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that the president made the very same request at the convening of NATO leaders last year. She did not dispute the Bulgarian president’s version of events.
“During the President’s remarks today at the NATO summit he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2% of their GDP on defense spending but that they increase it to 4%. The President raised this same issue when he was at NATO last year,” the Trump spokeswoman said.
Sanders commented further: “President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations.”
Trump has maintained on many occasions over the last week that the United State’s 4% GDP contribution to the group’s security is “very unfair” when compared to our European allies. He said it was unfair to the American taxpayer.
A new NATO report actually has the U.S. contribution at 3.5% of the nation’s GDP in 2018. But that is significantly more than the next closest country. Germany’s spending on defense as a percentage of GDP was on par with a handful of other NATO nations at 1.24 percent, putting it at the mid-to-lower spectrum.
Credit: Daily Mail