Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer criticized President Donald Trump for calling out German enrichment of Russia during a bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jans Stoltenberg.
NEW: Trump’s `behavior this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the President is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies,’ Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi say in joint statement pic.twitter.com/vNPqh7La2d
— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) July 11, 2018
Schumer and Pelosi’s statement is particularly odd because it accuses Trump of showing loyalty to Putin for criticizing one of the Kremlin’s crown economic jewels.
Trump nearly immediately launched into criticism of Germany, saying, “I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia.”
What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are their only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2018
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline. And you tell me if that’s appropriate — because I think it’s not — and I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO and I don’t think it should have happened,” he continued.
Trump’s comments referenced Germany’s approval of a major natural gas pipeline from Russia, which is set to supply a major percentage of the country’s energy needs. U.S. policymakers have long opposed the pipeline accusing Germany of putting their own desire for cheaper energy over the security needs of Eastern European countries the pipeline bypasses.
The pipeline’s bypassing of Eastern European countries like Ukraine gives Russia the ability to exert pressure on its neighbors without creating any incentive for western European countries to act on their behalf.