BRUSSELS – The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, told United States President Donald Trump to appreciate his country’s allies and said America did not have any ones better than Europe.
Speaking ahead of an upcoming NATO summit, Tusk addressed Trump over his recent remarks criticizing members of the Alliance for what he sees as insufficient spending on defense.
“I would like to address President Trump directly, who for a long time now has been criticizing Europe almost daily for, in his view, insufficient contributions to the common defense capabilities, and for living off the US,” Tusk said.
“Dear President Trump: America does not have, and will not have a better ally than Europe,” he continued, pointing out that Europeans spent more on defense than Russia and as much as China.
Tusk warned the US to “appreciate” its allies and wagered that “after all you don’t have that many.”
He also told Europe to spend more on defense as everyone respected allies that were “well-prepared and equipped.”
Tusk’s comments came just hours before Trump was expected to touch down in Brussels ahead of a two-day NATO summit.
Trump meanwhile, before departing for Europe, tweeted: “NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!”
Among the topics up for discussion and the summit, which kicks off Wednesday, would be the White House’s expectation that other allies start contributing 2 percent of their GDP on defense from now until 2024, a target that had been agreed on at a previous summit.
Only eight of the 29 members were currently hitting that spending target.