Donald Trump may have walked back his harsh assessment that “NATO is obsolete” during a White House meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg back in April, but returned to his public condemnation of the alliance during a meeting with NATO allies in Brussels on Thursday.
“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. But 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,” Trump said during his first official meeting with leaders from the 27 other members of the alliance in Brussels. While campaigning, Trump called Brussels a “hellhole.”
As NATO leaders stole sidelong glances at each other during a ceremony at the alliance’s new headquarters, Trump lectured member nations to “finally contribute their fair share” on defense.