At the same time a minor scandal has emerged at the NATO summit over gossip-like talk about President Trump, a national security expert says the president has emerged as a leader of the security alliance.
President Trump has complained often about lopsided NATO funding, since the United States pours tens of millions more into the defense pact than the numerous European countries who feared a military invasion from the Soviet Union, and now from Russia, in their backyards.
NATO countries agreed to increase defense spending to two percent during the Obama administration but in recent years only two of 29 member countries reached that goal despite pledging to do so.
Speaking to reporters from the NATO summit in London, Trump said eight countries – he called them the “two-percenters” -- have hit the goal of two percent thanks in part to pressure from his administration to do so.
James Carafano of The Heritage Foundation tells OneNewsNow that Trump is now viewed as the leader of NATO for bringing in more funding and reforms than other past presidents.
“And I think what we're seeing in London,” Carafano observes, “is actually people kind of coming around and grudgingly acknowledge that."
According to a Business Insider article, the annual NATO budget is $2.5 billion with the U.S. formerly contributing 22 percent annually. NATO gave in to Trump’s complaints and reduced that amount to 16 percent, the story said.
The media, meanwhile, has been reporting on a “hot mic” moment with Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, who mocked Trump in a gossip-like discussion with other world leaders when Trump was out of the room at Buckingham Palace.
Trump later called Trudeau “two-faced” for his behind-the-back ridicule but also called him a “nice guy” who understood Trump was representing U.S. interests over NATO funding.
Trump also reminded the media that he had publicly chided Trudeau hours earlier for Canada’s weak contribution to NATO.
Asked by Trump to state Canada’s contribution, Trudeau said his country’s contribution had jumped 70 percent.
“Okay,” Trump pressed, “where are you now in terms of your number?”
“We’re at 1.35 [percent],” Trudeau answered.