Donald Trump attends a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (not pictured). ©REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque
The French president was disrespectful when he called NATO brain-dead, Donald Trump said ahead of a special gathering of the alliance. A man whose nation is in economic trouble just can’t do such nasty things, he explained.
The US president on Tuesday managed to praise NATO as a great organization, criticize its European members for taking advantage of Washington’s generosity, and berate France’s Emmanuel Macron for being disrespectful to the organization.
“NATO serves a great purpose,” Trump told journalists in London amid a meeting with NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. “It got to be unfair for the United States because the United States paid a disproportionate amount. I heard that President Macron said that it was brain dead. I think it was very insulting to a lot of different forces, including the man that does a very good job in running NATO.”
The ‘man running NATO’ agreed, saying Macron’s criticism was not based on facts.
“That’s not the case. Actually NATO is active, NATO is agile, NATO is adapting,” Stoltenberg said. Trump went on to mount more criticism on his French counterpart, saying his statement about NATO was “very-very nasty” toward allies, considering it was coming from the leader of a nation experiencing economic and security problems.
“It’s a very tough statement to make when you have such difficulties in France. Look at what happened with the Yellow Vests,” Trump said referring to the French anti-austerity protest movement. “You just can’t go around making statements like that about NATO. It’s very disrespectful.”
Trump’s lecture came ahead of his meeting with leaders of other NATO members, including Macron. The alliance is holding a gathering in London this week to mark its 70th anniversary. Just before the meeting the Trump administration announced plans to impose heavy tariffs on French goods in retaliation to Paris’ decision to tax large tech companies generating revenue in the French market and using loopholes to avoid corporate taxes.