Western European nations that are long-standing military allies with the United States aren’t so friendly when it comes to business, President Donald Trump said Saturday.
Trump was interviewed by Jeff Glor of CBS on Saturday while in Scotland, two days ahead of his Monday summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and just after a contentious NATO meeting in Brussels.
“Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive,” Trump said in the interview, according to CBS.
“EU is very difficult… I respect the leaders of those countries. But — in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills,” he said.
Trump noted in a Monday tweet, however, that his hard-line stance demanding that allies must pay their fair share is making a difference.
“Received many calls from leaders of NATO countries thanking me for helping to bring them together and to get them focused on financial obligations, both present & future. We had a truly great Summit that was inaccurately covered by much of the media. NATO is now strong & rich!” Trump tweeted Monday.
Received many calls from leaders of NATO countries thanking me for helping to bring them together and to get them focused on financial obligations, both present & future. We had a truly great Summit that was inaccurately covered by much of the media. NATO is now strong & rich!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2018
During the summit, Trump had urged NATO partners to up their commitment to NATO from 2 percent of gross domestic product to 4 percent. He also said that those who have said they would hit the 2 percent mark by 2024 should do so immediately, The Hill reported.
In the CBS interview, Trump amplified concerns he made during the NATO meeting over a natural gas pipeline deal Germany reached with Russia.
“Germany made a pipeline deal with Russia. Where they’re going to be paying Russia billions and billions of dollars a year for energy, and I say that’s not good, that’s not fair. You’re supposed to be fighting for someone and then that someone gives billions of dollars to the one you’re, you know, guarding against. I think it’s ridiculous, so I let that be known also this time,” Trump said.
“I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of anger at the fact that Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars. There’s a lot of anger. I also think it’s a very bad thing for Germany. Because it’s like, what, are they waving a white flag?”
During the interview, Trump touched on the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller into potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Trump has long denied any such connections exist.
“I think we’re greatly hampered by this whole witch hunt that’s going on in the United States,” Trump said. “I think it hurts our relationship with Russia. I actually think it hurts our relationship with a lot of countries. I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on.”
During the interview, Glor asked Trump about his expectations for his summit with Putin.
“I don’t expect anything. I frankly don’t expect — I go in with very low expectations. I think that getting along with Russia is a good thing. But it’s possible we won’t,” he said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.