President Donald J. Trump seemed to be speaking from the wrong script when he addressed members of the NATO alliance in Brussels, Belgium on May 25th, which was broadcast on television worldwide. NATO leaders wanted Trump to publicly support the military alliance that he called "obsolete" during his presidential campaign. Instead, he reminded them that they owed "massive amounts of money" to the United States and NATO.
"Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying for their defense," he said. "This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United states, and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years." The looks on the faces of those representing other NATO nations were not happy. Also captured by TV was Trump rudely pushing aside another NATO representative so that he could move to the front of the group — and into the eye of the cameras.
Trump's behavior and remarks seemed especially out of place as NATO members tried to emphasize the West's unity by inviting President Trump to unveil a memorial at the new NATO headquarters in Brussels dedicated to the attacks on New York's Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.
Trump also used the occasion to denounce the bombing at the theater in Manchester, England, that resulted in an estimated 22 deaths and many injured. He said NATO allies were not spending enough on defense and such attacks would continue unless the alliance did more to stop militants.
"We will never waiver in our determination to defeat terrorism and achieve lasting security, prosperity and peace," Trump said. "Terrorism must be stopped or the horror you saw in Manchester and so many other places will continue forever."
Beau Weisman, Editor