Fallout continues after President Donald Trump’s blasting of Germany, claiming they were “a captive of Russia,” on the first day of the NATO summit in Brussels, reports The Guardian. Their chancellor, Angela Merkel, hit back with a condemnation of her own, “denying her country was ‘totally controlled’ by Russia and saying it made its own independent decisions and policies.” She let it be known that she didn’t need any lessons from Donald Trump on how to deal with authoritarian regimes considering she grew up in East Germany, back when it was under the influence of the Soviet Union.
The U.S. president’s tirade was about it not being “fair to American taxpayers that Germany buys oil and gas from Russia while enjoying the umbrella of defense provided by U.S. dollars,” reports NBC News. But that wasn’t all that Trump hit allies about. He once again complained about European countries not paying their fair share of their defense. Merkel blasted him on that front as well, reports The Guardian.
“Germany is the second largest provider of troops, the largest part of our military capacity is offered to NATO and until today we have a strong engagement towards Afghanistan. In that we also defend the interests of the United States.”
In the first meeting of the summit with NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, Trump called the relationship between Germany and Russia as “inappropriate,” signaling to allies that their fears about how this summit would go were justified. But it also goes against what the goal for the summit was, as espoused by Trump’s own NATO ambassador, former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who said last week that they were wanting to project unity, reports NBC News. His immediate actions would seem to already be putting that in jeopardy.
The president continues to turn decades of American diplomacy on its head, says former U.S. ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Wednesday.
“It’s just infuriating to watch this happen,” Burns said. “You cannot imagine any American president all the way back 75 years deciding to become the critic-in-chief of NATO. I mean, it’s Orwellian. He’s making our friends out to be our enemies and he’s treating our enemies, like Putin, as our friends.”
This has been a complaint from those inside the Beltway and beyond ever since Trump entered the political ring during his 2016 campaign for the presidency. At a time when the U.S. needs its European allies the most to combat aggression from Russia, he reportedly continues to antagonize them with rhetoric like he used at the summit.