President Trump on Monday, Sept. 9, at rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina said that President Obama might be more popular than him in Germany because the former president did not make NATO members to pay their defense budgets.
“I also got other NATO members to pay an additional 100 billion dollars over the last year and a half that they weren’t paying,” Trump said.
“They were delinquent, we’re supposed to protect them and they don’t pay. I say you can’t do that, you can’t do that. You got to pay.”
“Now we’re finally making immensely wealthy countries pay the costs of their defense we’re negotiating with a lot of them” Trump continued.
President Trump also blamed countries that do not pay enough committed defense costs even they are wealthy countries.
“Some of the wealthiest countries in the world. And when I say king, president, prime minister, queen, no matter what I say, you know what they say?” he continued. “‘But nobody’s ever asked us to do that before.’ That’s their only excuse. Because I would say to them, “Why would we do this?” ‘Why are we defending you” You are immensely wealthy. You compete with us on trade. We have lousy trade deals that we are renegotiating. Why are we protecting you, Mr. President? Well, I don’t know. I don’t know. But you know what their answer is? ‘Because you’ve always done it.’ That’s not a great answer.”
Then the president mentioned that, according to Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg, before he took office, the United States had increased defense spending while NATO members defense budgets were down.
“We’re taking in billions and billions but I got a hundred billion dollars and the Secretary General of NATO Stoltenberg is my biggest fan. He said until President Trump, you had to see the NATO cost of spending was going like this, and ours was going like this.” The president moved his hand in downward and upward, indicating the cost the NATO spend is down, the cost from the United States is up.
President Trump moved on to say that former President Obama is more popular in Germany than him because Trump is making them pay their committed defense budgets.
“We have been defending many countries who have treated us very badly. Now it is changing around. $100 billion. They’re not happy,” he said. “Obama is more popular in Germany than Trump. He’s got to be. I’m making people pay their bills. He’s got to be. The day I’m more popular than him, I’m not doing my job.”
According to Military Times, after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, NATO member countries agreed to increase defense budgets and “move toward” spending 2% of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024. The United Ststes spends about 3.4% of its GDP on defense in 2018.