US President Donald Trump arrived in Belgium for a meeting with NATO allies, who are concerned about the damage to the image of the former military alliance in the wake of Trump`s criticism.
The US president has often accused NATO`s European partners of not fulfilling their military financing commitments of the alliance. Before leaving Washington and during the flight, Trump reiterated his criticism on Twitter.
"Many countries in NATO, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made. Will they reimburse the U.S.?”
Before landing, the US president pointed out: "The European Union makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe (U.S. has a $151 Billion trade deficit), and then they want us to happily defend them through NATO, and nicely pay for it. Just doesn’t work!"
The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, responded energetically in the same social network to similar messages from President Trump earlier in the morning, saying that "it is always worth knowing who your strategic friend is and who is your strategic problem".
Tusk asked Trump to remember the almost 70-year relationship between NATO and the US. and he pressed him to "appreciate his allies, after all he does not have many”.
But before boarding Air Force One, Trump dismissed Tusk`s observation. "We have many allies," the president told reporters. "But we cannot take advantage of it, the European Union is taking advantage of us."
Trump`s criticism of NATO got a reaction from Senator John McCain, Republican president of the Armed Services Committee and a prisoner of the Vietnam War.