President Trump summed up his recent NATO summit meeting as a “success.” He said on Thursday that other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) agreed to “substantially up” their defense spending commitments.
The president did not provide details in the press conference after the summer, but highlighted his repeated calls for allies to contribute more to the alliance produced results.
“Tremendous progress has been made. Everyone’s agreed to substantially up their commitment. They’re going to up it at levels that they’ve never thought of before,” Trump said in Brussels.
“Commitments were made,” he added. “The commitment was at 2 percent, ultimately that’ll be going up quite a bit higher than that.”
But the Associated Press reported that French President Emmanuel Macron denied that NATO allies will increase defense spending beyond previously set goals. And Several reports revealed that Trump threatened to withdraw from NATO if other countries did not commit to a spending increase. The president did not deny those reports during his press conference, instead saying he was “very firm” with allies.
“I told people I’d be very unhappy if they didn’t up their commitments very substantially,” Trump said.
“I think I can probably can [pull out of NATO], but that’s unnecessary, and the people have stepped up today like they’ve never stepped up before,” Trump added.
President Trump maintained his position while in Belgium that there are unfair discrepancies in how much each NATO member contributes to defense spending. Trump has a history of complaining that the U.S. bears an unfair amount of costs for the alliance.
Trump has even gone so far as to say that allies are “delinquent,” and should reimburse the U.S. for spending. But each country contributes money to its own defense budget, not toward the alliance or any one country.
NATO members agreed in 2014 to spend at least 2 percent of their respective gross domestic product on defense by 2024. Trump tried to change that goal, requesting that members hike their commitment to 4 percent.
He later pressed allies to hit the original goal “immediately” rather than through a gradual increase.