President-elect Donald Trump said NATO members need to pay their fair share, called German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open borders a “catastrophic mistake,” and hailed Brexit as a success in an interview with The Sunday Times and German tabloid Bild.
Several U.S. allies have been worried about the future of NATO since Trump’s election victory in November. Trump called the alliance “obsolete” during his campaign, which he explained has to do with a failure to combat terrorism. Trump later signaled intent to maintain the relationship with NATO in a meeting with Obama.
“I took such heat, when I said Nato was obsolete,” Trump said. “It’s obsolete because it wasn’t taking care of terror. I took a lot of heat for two days. And then they started saying Trump is right.”
Trump explained that NATO is important to him, but he urged members to increase their defense spending.
“A lot of these countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to be paying, which I think is very unfair to the United States,” Trump said. “With that being said, NATO is very important to me.”
The president-elect said Merkel was “by far the most important European leader,” but called her decision to open the door to a million migrants in 2015 a “catastrophic mistake.”
“I think she made one very catastrophic mistake, and that was taking all of these illegals,” Trump said. “And nobody even knows where they come from. So I think she made a catastrophic mistake, very bad mistake.”
A positive thing about the state of Europe, according to Trump, is the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.
“I sort of, as you know, predicted it,” Trump said. “I was in Turnberry [his Scottish golf course] and was doing a ribbon cutting because I bought Turnberry, which is doing unbelievably, and I’ll tell you, the fact that your pound sterling has gone down? Great. Because business is unbelievable in a lot of parts in the UK, as you know. I think Brexit is going to end up being a great thing.”
President Barack Obama previously warned Britons that a new trade agreement with the U.S. would take years to accomplish. Trump is of a different opinion as he aims to get it done “very quickly.”
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