- Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
- President Donald Trump scrambled on the last day of the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, skipping meetings with at least two world leaders and prompting an emergency meeting.
- During a rare news conference, Trump also reaffirmed US support for the international alliance and called relations among the countries “very strong.”
- The president has alarmed some of the US’s closest allies by aggressively calling for NATO countries to increase their military spending and accusing Germany of being held captive by Russian energy.
President Donald Trump scrambled on the last day of the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, skipping meetings with at least two world leaders and prompting an emergency meeting before reaffirming his support for the international alliance at a news conference.
During a meeting with Georgia and Ukraine – two nations that hope to join NATO – Trump turned the conversation to his spending concerns, causing the secretary general to call an emergency meeting, The New York Times reported.
Rebecca Ballhaus, a Wall Street Journal reporter covering the summit from Belgium, tweeted: “Trump arrived 30 minutes late to today’s NATO summit, missed his scheduled meetings with at least two world leaders, prompted the secretary general to call an emergency session, held an impromptu 35-minute news conference, and is now leaving for the airport go fly to London.”
At the summit, Trump sharply criticized NATO countries for not spending at least 2% of their gross domestic product on military defense and accused Germany of being held captive by Russia, from which it imports natural gas.
The president also recommitted US support for NATO on Thursday, telling reporters he continues to support the alliance despite his criticisms.
“I believe in NATO,” he said during a news conference, during which he took questions from reporters. (Trump has not held a news conference in the US in over a year.)
Amid reports of tension between Trump and some of the US’s closest allies, the president insisted that relations among the leaders remained “very strong.”
“There’s a great, very collegial spirit in that room,” he told reporters. “Very unified, very strong, no problem.”
Before departing for England on Thursday, Trump signed a joint declaration that reaffirmed the US’s role in the alliance.