President Donald Trump started the NATO summit Wednesday with criticism, saying certain Western nations need to spend more on defense and calling Germany a “captive” of Russia.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived in Belgium Tuesday for the summit, ahead of meetings with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Britain and Vladimir Putin in Russia.
“Many countries are not paying what they should, and, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money from many years back,” Trump said at a breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. “They’re delinquent, as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them.”
Trump criticized Germany over dependence on natural gas from Russia. The United States spends heavily to defend Germany from Russia, he said, while Germany is paying “billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia.”
“I think it’s something that NATO has to look at,” Trump added.