President Donald Trump reportedly “blindsided” senior U.S. officials with his decision to pull a large number of American troops from Germany. The U.S. troops had been stationed in the European nation as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ordinances.
According to Reuters, five senior officials all confirmed that they had not been previously aware of Trump’s decision to announce a 25-percent reduction of troop cuts in Germany. The United States currently has 34,500 troops stationed in the European country. Trump hopes to remove 9,500 soldiers so that 25,000 remain.
Critics of the president have claimed that the move is a form of retaliation after German Chancellor Angela Merkel disrupted Trump’s plans to host an in-person G7 summit later this month. Merkel claimed that she believed the meeting was unwise as the globe continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Others have claimed that the decision was pushed by former German ambassador and Trump-loyalist Richard Grenell, who is currently serving as the Acting Director of the United States National Intelligence Agency.
However, other officials have hit back at such claims, stating that the decision has been in the process for “months” after discussions within the U.S. military.
Grenell offered similar remarks, claiming that “this is all gossip.” He added that the reduction plans had been “in the works since last year.”
The acting DNI director added that much of the decision centered around Germany’s failure to meet a NATO defense-spending target of two percent of gross domestic product (GDP), one of the requirements of the 1949 treaty. Germany has not met the target for years.
Moreover, Grenell emphasized his concern that Germany had not even submitted a realistic outline for how to reach the two-percent commitment, let alone actually meet it.
Despite the public declaration of the move, the Pentagon has yet to receive a formal order for the directive, according to an anonymous source.
U.S. officials were not the only ones surprised by Friday’s troop-reduction announcement. The Wall Street Journal reported that two senior German officials were also caught off guard by the announcement.
“There was no consultation or coordination. And Trump administration officials had said they did not expect a withdrawal of forces,” the source claimed.
However, the insider added that the move was not a total surprise, as the United States had been vocal in its frustration about the two percent defense spending minimum not being met.
As relations between the United States and Germany remain in flux, it appears that the European country is also entering a rockier relationship with the European Union, after a senior EU judge claimed that a recent German court ruling could destroy the agency, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.