WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that NATO members that do not contribute fully to the group would be “dealt with,” and singled out Germany as a country he said was not doing enough.
At a Cabinet meeting attended by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, Trump listed countries he said had paid the amount “they’re supposed to be paying.”
“We have some that don’t and, well, they’ll be dealt with,” Trump said.
He added Germany “has not contributed what it should be contributing and it’s a very big beneficiary.”
“In particular Germany must demonstrate leadership in the alliance by addressing its longstanding shortfall in defense contributions,” Trump said.
Despite often disagreeing with Trump in other areas, German Chancellor Angela Merkel agrees that Germany should contribute more and wants her country to boost military spending to meet the NATO target of 2 percent. She told senior military officers on Monday more spending is needed in light of changing security requirements in the world.
Stoltenberg praised Trump’s work on shoring up NATO, whose continued purpose Trump questioned while campaigning in the 2016 election.
Sitting on Trump’s right, Stoltenberg said: “Your leadership on defense spending has really helped to make a difference.”
“It is impacting allies because now all allies are increasing defense spending,” he said. “No allies are cutting their budgets.”
Reporting by James Oliphant; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Peter Cooney and Grant McCool