Seriously, what did we expect? Donald Trump and the whole world leader gang got together to reaffirm their commitment to international defense and cooperation this week and it did not go at all as planned. A-plus diplomacy, guys.
Before anyone even arrived in Brussels, Belgium for Day One of the NATO Summit, Trump was already tweeting his allies about not putting up enough money for international defense. Basically, he believes the United States is paying too much into NATO and wants other countries to contribute more to the pot. He’s got a point to an extent, but the 29 NATO allies already have a commitment in place to increase contributions by a certain per cent of their GDP by the year 2024. Apparently Donald Trump wants it to be more and he wants it now.
Fresh pastries with a side of presidential rants
First on Trump’s agenda was a breakfast with the NATO Secretary General and before the food even came out, Trump was ranting about how the U.S. funds the protection of all the other NATO countries. The episode was so cringe-inducing, even Trump’s own staff was trying to pretend they were anywhere else. Chief of Staff John Kelly looked stone-faced the whole time, some people even speculated he turned a hearing aid off at one point while his boss went off against their hosts.
In his defence, the White House claimed Kelly was sullen because he was disappointed by the Belgian breakfast of pastries and cheese. As if that’s a better reason for an adult to be upset during a meal.
Bilateral Breakfast with NATO Secretary General in Brussels, Belgium… pic.twitter.com/l0EP3lzhCM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2018
Breakfast at NATO .. Kay Bailey Hutchison giving evil eye and Gen Kelly searching for the exit as @realDonaldTrump blows disgusting hot air at Germany accusing them of being “totally controlled by Russia” yeah… he said that pic.twitter.com/UYFUazwQpm
— patsy lake (@patsylake) July 11, 2018
John Kelly Was Upset With Breakfast, Not Trump, At NATO Summit, White House Claims: At a NATO breakfast meeting on Wednesday, John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, was caught on camera apparently grimacing as President Donald Trump lambasted ally… https://t.co/rZ5Ijk6QBW pic.twitter.com/JgX7m4mzaT
— XaniaNews (@XaniaNews_com) July 12, 2018
President Pot and kettle
Another big beef Trump seems to have with his allies are are their ties to Russia (yes, seriously). At the same breakfast (and on several other occasions later in the day), Trump blasted German Chancellor Angela Merkel for an energy deal her country has with Russia, saying they are “totally controlled by Russia,” and a “captive” of the country. That would be an interesting argument if Trump didn’t have his own very public bromance with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
A quick recap: during the 2016 presidential election, Trump made a public plea to Russia to hack Hillary Clinton‘s emails; the Trump team may have colluded with Russia to get dirt on Clinton and influence the election; it’s been proven that Russia did meddle in the election; Trump refuses to call Putin out on the meddling; Trump has repeatedly defended Putin being “a killer”; a few weeks ago, Trump suggested that Russia be let back into the G7.
Oh, and he’s also meeting with Putin this week. What’s that saying about the pot calling the kettle “beholden to Russia,” again?
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia” Donald Trump says at the #NATOSummit as he awaits impeachment over Russian collusion.
— JOHN NICOLSON (@MrJohnNicolson) July 11, 2018
Donald Trump called Germany “a captive of Russia.” He’s like the kind of guy who tries to blame his farts on the dog, but instead of farts, it’s treason.
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) July 12, 2018
Trump is checking off Putin’s wish list.
Weaken western alliances (NATO) ✅
Undermine the US-led liberal democratic order ✅
Undermine Americans’ faith in their institutions ✅
Lift sanctions (IN PROGRESS)
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) July 11, 2018
Macron in the middle
Remember when French President Emmanuel Macron visited the U.S. and got all chummy with the president? Well, things got real weird this time around with Macron trying to balance his (calculated?) friendship with the president with his relationship with the rest of his allies. Trump has a tendency to talk to and about people like they wholeheartedly agree with him, which made for some awkward moments for the French prez.
Like when Trump reasserted his argument that Germany is “totally controlled” by Russia. Macron was barely able to get out a quick “no, no” before Trump continued speaking for the two of them. It was also reported that Trump asked Macron privately to leave the World Trade Organization. Awkward.
It was all for nothing?
Right before his departure, Donald Trump gathered reporters for an impromptu press conference — never good. In the conference he announced that he got everything that he wanted and other countries will be increasing their NATO spending.
When asked if he was going to change his cooperative tone once he’s out of the country (as he’s been known to do), he replied by referencing one of his greatest hits — “I’m a very stable genius.”
Mission accomplished? Apparently not. Both Emmanuel Macron and the NATO chief said that the increases in spending are still going to follow the original schedule. Oh boy.
Asked for a yes or no answer on whether NATO allies agreed to boost defense spending — as Trump asserted — NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg tells Christiane Amanpour, “We agreed to make good on the commitments we have made.” A telling non-answer.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) July 12, 2018
— The Hill (@thehill) July 12, 2018
In other news…
Trump finally managed to hold Melania‘s hand.