Trump Walks Back NATO Threats, Takes 'Total Credit' For Spending Boost


Addressing a question about his consistency - and whether he might have less glowing comments about North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on his Twitter account, Trump said, "No, that's other people that do that, I don't. It's very detailed", Macron said, according to France 24. Cory Gardner, Colorado Republican, said Thursday that he believes Russian Federation is worthy of being designated a state sponsor of terrorism.

Others say Congressional approval would be required - and would be unlikely to be forthcoming.

He triggered an emergency session on the spending issue, before emerging from the turmoil to say "I believe in Nato" in response to reports that he had threatened to pull out.

Several diplomats and officials said, however, that his undiplomatic intervention - including pointing at other leaders and addressing Merkel as "you, Angela" - had irritated many.

"NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is sidestepping questions about whether President Donald Trump has asked his allies to double their defence spending ambitions".

Asked about Trump's suggestion, Stoltenberg said he'll focus on what's been agreed to. It has created a new sense of urgency.

"The clear message from President Trump is having an impact", he said.

On Thursday, Trump reiterated his criticism of NATO in a tweet, stating, "Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russian Federation".

Member states had already agreed, dating back in 2014, to increase their base level defense spending to 2 percent.

And while all member nations have agreed, in principle, to work toward the 2 percent spending goal, each country is ultimately beholden to unique political processes and must consult with their respective parliaments to secure increased military spending.

Trump told leaders he wanted them all to hit that target by January, prompting consternation.

Since 2015, the country has also had a populist right-wing government that supports many of Trump's positions, including his opposition to migration. "Are we contributing the kinds of resources and demonstrating the kind of commitment to the alliance that always needs to be there?"

"The American president demanded what has been discussed for months, that there is a change in the burden sharing", Merkel said.

"I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being controlled by the Soviet Union", she said.

Trump is reported to have spoken of "grave consequences" if allies did not meet their 2 percent of GDP defense spending targets, saying that the United States could "go our own way" if his demands were not met.

The U.S. leader gave no specifics on which countries had agreed to increase defense spending, but said several countries had cumulatively boosted defense spending by $33 billion in the past year.

Including that commitment, however, Canada's current defence spending plans are only expected to bring it to 1.4 per cent of GDP, well short of the Wales target. "Much stronger than it was two days ago", Trump said in an unscheduled statement.