Donald Trump goes after Macron at start of NATO summit

The US President called Macron’s “brain dead” NATO remarks “nasty,” saying he could see Paris leaving the alliance. The remarks set the tone for what is expected to be another tense summit among NATO allies.

US President Donald Trump kicked off a tense two-day NATO summit on Tuesday by criticizing French President Emmanuel Macron’s comment about the “brain death” of the military alliance.

What he said on NATO:

In a nearly hour-long press conference alongside NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in London, Trump:

  • Called Macron’s comments “nasty,” “insulting,” and “very dangerous” adding that: “Nobody needs NATO more than France.” 
  • Denied US ties with the military alliance are shaky but said that he could “see France breaking off” from NATO.
  • Said Russia “wants to make a deal” on nuclear control and arms control — and that he wants to bring in China into the talks.
  • Reiterated his call for European partners to increase defense spending — calling out Germany in particular for falling short.

Read more: Why has French President Macron taken the lead in NATO-bashing?

NATO summit: A union under pressure

‘No deadline’ on China trade deal

Trump suggested that a long-awaited trade deal with China would have to wait until after the next US presidential election in November 2020 — with no end currently in sight to the ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing.

“I have no deadline, no. In some ways I think I think it’s better to wait until after the election with China,” he told reporters.

European share prices, US stock index futures and the Chinese yuan currency fell following his remarks. Tensions

Trump to ‘stay out’ of UK election

The US leader’s visit to London comes just nine days before the UK general election — leaving British politicians holding their breath to see what he says.

On Tuesday, Trump said that he would “stay out of the election,” adding: “I don’t want to complicate it.”

He then went on to once again praise Brexit, remarking that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would do “a good job.”

Johnson’s Conservatives worry that Trump’s visit could provide campaign ammunition for the opposition Labour Party, who argue that a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the United States could damage the state-funded National Health Service.

Merkel: Europe not in a position to defend itself alone

US support for Turkey

Trump also defended his decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria and voiced his support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — who subsequently launched an offensive against Kurdish forces in the region.

“I like Turkey and I get along very well with the president,” Trump said.

Ahead of the summit, Erdogan vowed to oppose a NATO plan to defend Baltic countries unless the alliance supports it in recognizing the Kurdish YPG militia as a terrorist group.

European leaders are due to question Erdogan at the summit over his actions in northern Syria.

The leaders of NATO’s 29 members have gathered in London for a summit to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the trans-Atlantic military alliance.

https://www.dw.com

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