Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Trump Declares Himself 'Genius' After NATO Meeting

Trump Declares Himself 'Genius' After NATO Meeting

In the latest example of his penchant for creating conflict to draw attention to his agenda, he first demanded an emergency meeting to address his grievances and then called a news conference to claim "total credit" for having pressed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members into increasing their military budgets "like they never have before".

The summit came as transatlantic ties are already under strain due to United States trade tariffs, along with fears that Trump's summit on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin will pull him further from Nato's orbit.

Trump: "Only five of 29 countries were making their commitment and that's now changed".

Trump spent 28 hours in Brussels. He seemed to suggest a speeded-up timeline, saying nations would be "spending at a much faster clip", which if it panned out would mark a significant milestone for the alliance.

Trump: "The commitment was at 2% [GDP], ultimately that will be going quite a bit higher than that."

"We are increasing our defence budget".

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported Trump as saying "I'll do my own thing" if spending is not immediately increased.

"It reaffirms a commitment to 2 percent in 2024".

The emergency session came amid reports that Trump had threatened to leave the pact if allies didn't immediately up their spending, but officials said no explicit threat was made.

The mercurial tycoon said before leaving Washington that his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday "may be the easiest" part of his European tour, which also includes a trip to Britain, where the government is in crisis over Brexit.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg cited a "new sense of urgency, and all allies agreed to redouble their efforts".

Trump claimed victory after bitterly criticizing key allies, notably Germany, for failing to pay their way at one of the most fractious summits in Nato's 70-year history. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday gave Trump an uncharacteristically personal response, reminding him that she knew what captive means, having grown up in Soviet-controlled East Germany. The US is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade.

Trump later called the meeting a "success". "I made clear that we are on this path", Merkel said.

"I think, by and large, that the American people are glad to have a president who will be willing to maybe set aside some of the niceties and actually say what he thinks and defend their interests", Cornyn said.

Trump heads to Britain on Thursday, where the government is in crisis over Brexit and where tensions with Russian Federation have spiked after London blamed Moscow for the death this month of a British woman from contact with the Novichok nerve agent.

Trump's assertion that Russia is a competitor and not an adversary is contrary to the judgments of U.S. intelligence agencies and his chief diplomat, Mike Pompeo, who at his April confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State, said the United States needs "to push back in each place we confront them", referring to the Russians.

Instead, a series of events - a black-tie dinner with business leaders, a meeting with May and an audience with Queen Elizabeth II - will happen outside the bustling city, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has been in a verbal battle with Trump.

Nonetheless, he has simultaneously asserted that the US should pay less. And one of the freedoms we have is freedom of speech and the freedom to express your views. "Every single USA president has been pushing the point of extra spending since Reagan and they have all been played I am not going to be".

He also said meeting the queen would be an experience Trump "will really cherish".

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