President Trump told NATO leaders in person and on Twitter at a Wednesday-Thursday summit in Brussels that he wants them to raise their national defense spending to 2 percent of GDP more quickly than the 2024 deadline agreed to in 2014, and maybe raise it to 4 percent, prompting an emergency session of NATO leaders Thursday morning. Trump also threatened to break with NATO and have America go it alone if other members don't raise defense spending quickly enough, NATO officials and diplomats tell Politico. "NATO officials said Trump was furious over media coverage suggesting that the first day of the summit had proceeded calmly, and that he had demanded to hold a press conference immediately after the morning meeting."
In that news conference, Trump called the NATO summit a success, insisted "the United States was not being treated fairly, but now we are," and said “I believe in NATO." When asked, Trump said he thinks he "probably can" pull the U.S. out of NATO without the explicit approval of Congress, "but that's not necessary" now that other countries have made "a real commitment" to raise defense spending to 2 percent of GDP in a "relatively short period of years."
— New Day (@NewDay) July 12, 2018
Trump painted the commitment to increase defense spending as a personal victory, though French President Emmanuel Macron said the "very detailed" final communiqué "confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024. That's all." Trump also said fellow NATO leaders had thanked him for making them agree to spend more on defense and for meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, promoted the quality of U.S. defense contractors and his golf resort in Scotland, and touted his Electoral College victory. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Trump had reportedly singled out by first name in a breach of protocol, called the summit "intense." Peter Weber