Allies are braced for a barrage of invective from Trump for not spending enough on defence, and are apprehensive that his often skeptical tone on the alliance that has underpinned European security for 70 years might turn into outright hostility.
The tensions with Trump look all the more stark in the context of a summit that will take important decisions to boost NATO's ability to defend itself from the threat it sees from Russian Federation. "We pay far too much and they pay far too little", he said later on the South Lawn.
Trump also noted that 2% of GDP should be the "bare minimum for confronting today's very real and very vicious threats".
"NATO really is making progress, and they are doing it really at President Trump's insistence", Hutchinson said on "Fox News Sunday".
Trump's tweet on Tuesday echoed earlier posts on Twitter on Monday and his criticism at a rally of supporters in the United States last week, in which he said that Washington was unfairly carrying nearly all the cost of defending Europe. It reflects the the percentage of each country's national defense budgets and nothing else. But Trump's claim that the US pays 90 per cent of NATO's total defense spending isn't corroborated by available data. The United States, which spent $685.9 billion on defense in 2017, now makes up 51.1 percent of NATO's combined GDP.
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Mr Trump has repeatedly expressed his anger some European countries, the United Kingdom excepted, do not spend at least two per cent of GDP on defence. It might even backfire. The trip that begins Tuesday in Brussels will also take Mr. Trump to London, where Prime Minister Theresa May's government is in turmoil over her plans for exiting the European Union.
In other words, Merkel can't afford to have Trump toss any more Starburst sweets at her without losing credibility with her domestic base. 'I'm confident the UK-US alliance will play a leading role in advancing our shared values of democracy and freedom, ' he said.
Trump has, meanwhile, delivered on US commitments to Europe.
"America does not have, and will not have a better ally than Europe", Mr Tusk said. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders are scheduled to meet in Brussels July 11-12.
"Well, we do have a lot of allies".
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He said he got on well with Mrs May and had "always liked" Boris Johnson, who quit as foreign secretary on Monday.
Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia described Trump's desire to make nice with Russian Federation as "very problematic". "It has bipartisan support on the hill", said Goldgeier.
Despite Trump's complaints, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison assured the overall theme of the summit is "NATO's strength and unity".
"Other countries are going to have to look out for themselves... While these countries have been increasing their contributions since I took office, they must do much more", Trump wrote on Twitter.
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