Before participating in his first G7 Summit tomorrow, President Donald Trump took a day trip to Brussels, Belgium to meet with the member of NATO. His publicized conversation with them was one of the many firsts this week he’s had in his presidential role, but bigger than that was the verbal lashing he dished out on the world’s stage, and for good reason. Needless to say, the members didn’t appreciate the public lashing as is proven in their response caught on camera as they stood behind Trump’s back while he finally said what Barack Obama avoided for eight years.
Donald Trump stood within feet of our NATO counterparts today embarking on an historic speech which ended up being one for the ages. When people don’t pay their bills, they can expect debt collectors to relentlessly call and hound them until they do. While consumers are forced to endure this nauseating payment approach until they settle the debt, bills owed by government groups can go decades without being paid, despite the government being the ultimate form of annoying debt collection, ie. the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Today, President Trump paid the part of debt collector to unsuspecting NATO members who owe a lot and haven’t expected to pay for almost a decade under Barack Obama. True to Trump’s bold form, he outlined from his public podium how 23 of the 28 NATO countries are not paying their fair share into the NATO defense fund. As the speech continued it was clear that many of the NATO members were becoming very uncomfortable. They began to whisper to each other and chuckle thinking it’s funny that the Commander-in-Chief would expect them to pay into the fund.
The members all knew that they haven’t been paying but no American president had ever called them out on it until today, for which it was not well received. Trump was definitely the man to do it, as a non-career politician whose only allegiance is to the American people, and didn’t flinch at their smirks and whispering. In fact, their arrogant attitude only seemed to embolden his words and resolve on this important issue.
PoliticusUSA reports an excerpt of Trump’s sentiments to NATO today:
“These grave security concerns are the same reason that I have been very, very direct with Secretary Stoltenberg and members of the Alliance in saying that NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations, for 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense.”
“This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States. And many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years. Over the last eight years, the United States spent more on defense than all other NATO countries combined. If all NATO members had spent just 2 percent of their GDP on defense last year, we would have had another $119 billion for our collective defense and for the financing of additional NATO reserves.”
Trump could likely feel what was happening behind him in the shock, awe, and guffaw of his statement saying that it’s time to pay up on this long overdue bill, but continued in perfect fashion anyway. He made his intentions clear in this speech by demanding that each country contribute a minimum of 2 percent of each country’s gross national product and added to it that delinquent counties will be held to repaying their debts. He told the NATO members that it isn’t fair to the taxpayers of the United States of America to have to foot the bill because 23 counties want the protection but don’t want to pay.
“The United States contributed 22 percent of NATO’s budget which was $664 billion. No one else came close to the level of US giving, 3.6 percent of America’s gross national product,” according to White House data.
Trump’s verbal lashing ended on a positive note, as he spoke briefly about New York’s contribution of a 9/11 monument and thanked Germany for their contribution as well. In his final comments he said that the new NATO facility was beautiful, but added that he didn’t ask how much it cost to build and definitely doesn’t want to know – which was likely in part to the massive unpaid bill people are refusing to pay which would definitely help with this cost.
NATO members being bullish on their stance against American allies is nothing new and, Israel has been the hardest hit, which is a nation close to Trump’s heart and also a place he just departed from. Right after Trump became President, Nikki Haley was appointed as the US Ambassador to the United Nations, who he enlisted her help in taking a strong stance against against this type of bullying.
Today, Trump did the same thing to NATO as an example of his power and new precedence he’s setting. His saying that no longer is it America’s obligation to cover people’s bills, especially those member who benefit from NATO but don’t think that they have to pay for it. After today’s tongue lashing, the world has once again been put on notice by a successful business man who definitely knows what he’s doing.