Trump prepares to tackle dicey spending issue at NATO summit

Fresh off announcing his second Supreme Court nominee, President Trump will arrive in Brussels Tuesday afternoon for another noteworthy moment in his presidency: a crucial two-day summit with longstanding NATO allies who are hoping to ease tensions and steer the U.S. leader toward a display of unity.

Trump is expected to leave a mark on what administration officials have described as one of the most “substantive and meaty” summits the 69-year-old alliance has ever held. Just prior to leaving for Brussels, the president restated his frustration with NATO allies that have failed to meet his demand for more equitable defense spending.

“The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable,” he wrote. “While these countries have been increasing their contributions since I took office, they must do much more. Germany is at 1%, the U.S. is at 4%, and NATO benefits Europe far more than it does the U.S.”

Complaints about NATO have become a recurring line during Trump’s campaign rallies and joint press conferences with European leaders. Only five of its 28 members — Greece, Britain, Estonia, Poland, and the U.S. — currently meet the organization’s the self-imposed goal of defense spending equal to at least 2 percent gross domestic product.

But in the weeks leading up to this year’s summit, the president has gone so far as to hint that the U.S. might scale back its role as a security umbrella if certain countries decline to increase their defense spending.
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