The Associated Press BRUSSELS (AP) — A senior European Union official lashed out Tuesday at President Donald Trump, lambasting the U.S. leader’s constant criticism of European allies and urging him to remember who his friends are when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin next week.
On the eve of a NATO summit meant to showcase the West’s unity and resolve to counter Russia, European Council President Donald Tusk directed a remark at Trump, saying “it is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem.”
NATO is keen to damp down trans-Atlantic differences during the two-day summit at its Brussels headquarters, despite divisions among the alliance’s 29 members over Trump’s policies on trade and his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and an international climate agreement.
Tusk’s pointed observation, offered as he signed a joint declaration with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, is unlikely to be the only rhetorical salvo fired this week.
“America does not have and will not have a better ally than Europe today,” Tusk said. “Europeans spend on defense many times more than Russia and as much as China, and I think you can have no doubt, Mr. President, that this is an investment in common American and European defense and security, which cannot be said with confidence about Russian or Chinese spending.”
Trump regularly has criticized his NATO allies for failing to spend the target of 2 percent of gross domestic product on national defense budgets. He tweeted Tuesday morning: “Getting ready to leave for Europe. First meeting — NATO. The U.S. is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them.”Speech