President Trump on Thursday deemed the NATO summit in Brussels a rousing success and called himself a "stable genius" for pressing allies into ponying up their fair share of cash to run the western alliance group.
While the mainstream media in America ranted about Trump's harsh rhetoric demanding other world powers to step up their games — The Washington Post called it a "blistering tirade" — Trump's words on Wednesday had an immediate effect. Before his press conference with international press, NATO leaders called an emergency session to address Trump's criticism that they aren't spending enough on defense.
“Yesterday, I let them know that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening, and they have substantially upped their commitment,” Trump said at around noon local time in Belgium. “I told people that I’d be very unhappy if they did not up their commitments very substantially,” he told reporters after the emergency session.
“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. “Commitments were made,” he added. “The commitment was at 2 percent, ultimately that’ll be going up quite a bit higher than that.”
“Everyone in the room thanked me. There was a great collegial spirit in that room. . . . Very unified, very strong. No problem," Trump said. “NATO is much stronger now than it was two days ago.”
NATO is much stronger now than it was two days ago.
- President Trump
On Wednesday, Trump said many NATO members are "delinquent" in their payments to the alliance, saying they "owe us a tremendous amount of money from many years back."
But there were few details of the new arrangement. "Trump did not specify which countries had committed to what, and it remained unclear whether any had changed their plans. He seemed to suggest a speeded-up timeline, saying nations would be 'spending at a much faster clip,'" the Associated Press reported.
Trump, though, offered some details. “Some are at 2 percent, others have agreed definitely to go to 2 percent, and some are going back to get the approval, and which they will get to go to 2 percent,” Trump said.
The AP also said that some dispute Trump's claim. "But there were no immediate specifics on what he had achieved, and French President Emmanuel Macron quickly disputed Trump’s claim that NATO allies have agreed to boost defense spending beyond 2 percent of gross domestic product."
During the 35-minute press conference, Trump was asked if his message "would change once he departed on Air Force One, perhaps referring to tweets that followed G7 talks, in which Trump turned on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and [French President Emmanuel] Macron," Fox News reported.
“That's other people that do that," Trump said. "I don't. I'm very consistent. I'm a very stable genius.”