President Donald Trump lands in London for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Clay Curtis
December 3, 2019

US President Donald Trump attends a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (not pictured), ahead of the NATO summit in Watford December 3, 2019.

Trump comments came during what was billed a photo opportunity between himself and Stoltenberg, and instead turned into a freewheeling news conference, which lasted more than 50 minutes and - as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general sat by only occasionally speaking at Trump's invitation - covered everything from the impeachment inquiry Trump is facing back home to the upcoming British election to Trump's thoughts on whether his secretary of state should seek a Senate seat.

"That is a very nasty statement to essentially 28 countries", Trump said, also calling Macron's remark disrespectful and insulting.

Macron said the alliance was experiencing "brain death" in an interview with the Economist published last month, suggesting that the alliance was becoming obsolete.

It began as a 12-member alliance to counterbalance the growing military might of the Soviet Union and to keep the peace in post-war Europe.

"I'm doing very well on a deal with China, if I want to make it", he said.

Infighting is a major issue.

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Relations between the U.S. and France are particularly strained this week after The U.S. Trade Representative proposed introducing tariffs on $2.4 billion in goods in retaliation for a French tax on global tech giants including Google, Amazon and Facebook.

For his part Macron has lamented Nato's "brain death" due to a lack of U.S. leadership, and said the organisation needs a wake-up call.

However Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson will nonetheless be nervous that Trump's presence will harm him within the closing phases of the British election marketing campaign.

Trump said of France: "They've had a very rough year, ' and brought up the 'yellow vest" protests.

Only nine of Nato's 29 members spend 2% of their GDP on defence.

Reiterated his call for European partners to increase defense spending - calling out Germany in particular for falling short.

The summit in London comes amid a series of spats between leaders that threatens to expose a lack of unity that could well undermine the military organization's credibility.

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