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Trump Demands NATO Members Meet Financial Obligations at Summit

Other NATO leaders looked on uncomfortably as the president demanded they “contribute their fair share.”

President Trump, speaking at a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, demanded that other NATO members pay their “fair share” for mutual defense.

NATO members are obligated to maintain a defense budget of at least 2% of GDP, but few live up to that standard.

“Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying for their defense,” Trump said.

The president argued that this situation was unfair to the United States, given that the U.S. defense budget usually ends up footing the bill.

“Many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years. Over the last 8 years, the United States spent more on defense than all other NATO countries combined,” he said.

Given growing threats from the Middle East and Russia, Trump asked the members to increase defense spending to improve collective defense capabilities.

Trump’s call for NATO members to contribute more is nothing new, as previous presidents had made the same call, and it echoes remarks Trump made during the 2016 campaign. Even the secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, agreed with Trump that NATO countries need to make a more firm commitment to burden-sharing.