President Donald Trump reportedly pushed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders to up their defense spending targets from 2 to 4 percent, according to the Bulgarian president.
“President Trump, who spoke, raised the question not just to reach 2%, today, but set a new target – 4%,” Bulgarian president Rumen Radev told reporters, according to Reuters, citing BNR public radio. “NATO is not a bourse a which one can buy security. But yes, on the other hand, President Trump is right, as each country should build its effective capabilities, and the unwillingness with which Bulgaria spends money on defense is obvious.”
Two other NATO officials confirmed to Bloomberg the president’s request, which might or might not be a formal policy demand.
Trump is taking part in a two-day NATO summit in Brussels. Before he set out for Europe, he repeatedly stated that America’s NATO allies need to increase their defense spending.
“We cannot be taken advantage of,” the president said Tuesday, adding, “We’re being taken advantage of by the European Union. We spend 75 percent on NATO and frankly, it helps them more than it helps us.” (RELATED: PAY UP: Trump Rolls Into NATO Summit With One Message)
The Trump administration is involved in a simmering trade spat with a number of European countries. Trump referenced the trade situation in a tweet prior to his departure.
Getting ready to leave for Europe. First meeting – NATO. The U.S. is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer. On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2018
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