President Donald Trump shared a chart of defense expenditures among the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries, which supports his claim that the United States is having to shoulder the budget burden for many others.
“NATO, very unfair to the United States!” President Trump tweeted on Wednesday, Aug. 21.
The president attached the chart showing the United States is paying 3.42 percent of its GDP for NATO defense spending, the highest rate among members.
Beside the United States, several other countries are meeting their pledge of dedicating 2 percent of their GDP or more on NATO budget, including Greece, Estonia, Britain, Romania, Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania.
According to the chart, as many as 20 countries are lagging behind the spending threshold.
In two previous tweets, President Trump criticized European allies, including Denmark, for not contributing enough to NATO, a military alliance founded on the principle of collective defense, which means if a member is attacked the others have to step in.
“For the record, Denmark is only at 1.35% of GDP for NATO spending. They are a wealthy country and should be at 2%,” President Trump wrote. “We protect Europe and yet, only 8 of the 28 NATO countries are at the 2% mark. The United States is at a much, much higher level than that.”
The president said those countries have agreed to pay $100 billion more because of him, but said that sum is “still way short of what they should pay for the incredible military protection provided.”
….Because of me, these countries have agreed to pay ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS more – but still way short of what they should pay for the incredible military protection provided. Sorry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2019
President Trump has long complained about NATO allies for not paying their fair share and pressured them to fulfill their commitment on defense spending.
In July 2018, the president questioned why the United States was spending so much to protect European wealthy allies, but lost billions of dollars on trade for them. At that time, he urged NATO members “Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.”
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Aug. 18, President Trump revealed that he would visit Poland and may Denmark at the end of this month. It is unclear if the NATO budget would be on his agenda.
The president confirmed on Aug. 20 that he would postpone the meeting with Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen after the Danish leader commented she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland.