NATO official tells me: “I expected bad, and I kept telling people to expect bad, but it is still surreal to see.”
This is getting to be typical Donald Trump…..
Punch….Then try to cozy up and get something he wants….
It’s only worked with a tax cut and against Republicans….
(There has been bad blood between German Chancellor Merkel and Trump from the day he got into office….)
President Trump kicked off his two-day visit with NATO allies by doing exactly what many of them feared, worsening tensions within the alliance by claiming that Germany, a bulwark of the transatlantic democratic order, “is totally controlled by” and “captive to Russia.”
Trump, who often goes on the attack by accusing someone of behavior he has been accused of, irked allies last month by suggesting that Russia should be readmitted to the G-7, and is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday. He began a series of meetings with NATO leaders here Wednesday by suggesting during a welcome breakfast that a natural gas pipeline project has made Germany subservient to Russia.
He did not name the project, but appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would transport Russian gas to Germany’s Baltic coast and dramatically increase the amount of gas Russia is able to export directly to Germany. The U.S. and some European Union countries oppose the project.
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia,” Trump said. “You tell me if that’s appropriate because I think it’s not.”…
As usual ?
A senior Trump admin official is left to clean up Trump’s mess….
First, President Donald Trump held an awkward, confrontational breakfast in Brussels with the head of NATO about insufficient defense spending by alliance members and frustration over German support for a Russian gas pipeline.
A few hours later on Wednesday, his secretary of state tweeted effusive praise of the organization.
“.@NATO is the most successful alliance in history,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter. “All #NATO allies have committed to extending this success through increased defense spending, deterrence and defense, and fighting terrorism. Weakness provokes; strength and cohesion protects. This remains our bedrock belief.”
That upbeat assessment contrasted with Trump’s statement at the breakfast that “many countries owe us. The United States is paying far too much and other countries are not paying enough.”…