Trump Presses NATO on Military Spending, but Signs Its Criticism of Russia

“The former chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas,” Mr. Trump stated, referring to Gerhard Schröder, a former German chancellor and buddy of Mr. Putin’s who leads the mission. “So you tell me, is that appropriate?”

In a face-to-face assembly with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany later within the day on the sideline of the summit assembly, Mr. Trump was extra conciliatory, saying the 2 had a “very, very good relationship.” But earlier, Ms. Merkel had reacted sharply to the president’s discuss, saying that she had firsthand expertise of dwelling below Soviet domination and that Germany made its personal choices.

One senior White House official, who spoke on the situation of anonymity in order to not describe interactions with the president, stated that Mr. Trump was conscious of — and had groused about — the criticism that he was too near Mr. Putin. That official regarded Mr. Trump’s remark in regards to the pipeline — which echoed safety issues voiced by the Obama administration — as an effort to hit again at what the president feels is a double customary about his relationship with Russia.

Across the Atlantic, Mr. Trump’s efficiency drew howls of criticism from Democrats and an implicit rebuke from the Republican-led Congress, which unanimously handed a decision supporting NATO with out debate.

The decision, adopted overwhelmingly by the Senate on Tuesday evening and brought up swiftly by the House hours after Mr. Trump’s remarks on Wednesday, stated that the United States “must remain committed to our NATO allies in the face of any aggression irrespective of their ability to meet the NATO benchmark of spending.”

Jorge Benitez, a senior fellow on the Atlantic Council, stated Mr. Trump’s remark was additional proof that he was performing alone and on intuition, and was keen to sow unrest in Brussels that might finally be a boon to Mr. Putin.

“It is in Russia’s interest, not the U.S. interest, for the Europeans to have any doubt about U.S. commitment to its allies,” Mr. Benitez stated of the president’s actions. “In trying to get a better deal, he will severely harm the unity of the alliance.”

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