President Donald Trump took credit Tuesday for an increase in defense spending among NATO members, suggesting that the alliance he has harshly criticized has turned a corner. But Germany came under his fire.
“People are paying and I am very happy with the fact they are paying,” Trump said during a meeting with NATO’s top official at the White House.
Trump lauded the alliance overall for increases in defense expenditures, but Germany continues to be a flashpoint for the president. “Germany honesty is not paying their fair share,” he said.
NATO members are expected to dedicate 2 percent of economic output to defense, but Germany falls short and doesn’t have a clear plan to reach the alliance benchmark. “They are paying close to 1 percent,” Trump said of the Germans. “It is very unfair.”
Trump also blasted Germany over a trade imbalance with the U.S, which has long been a point of contention for the president, who has threatened tariffs on the German automotive industry over the issue.
“We are protecting Europe, at the same time they have taken advantage of us on trade,” Trump said. “But it is all changing.”