(CNSNews.com) – During a speech at the NATO summit in Brussels, President Donald Trump on Thursday called out NATO members for not paying their fair share, saying that if they did, “NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism.”
“Over the last 8 years, the United States spent more on defense than all other NATO countries combined. If all of the NATO members had spent just two percent of their GDP on defense last year, we would have had another $119 billion for our collective defense and for the financing of additional NATO reserves,” Trump said.
He said that “23 out of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense.”
“This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States, and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years,” the president said.
Trump said even if NATO countries paid their fair share now, that wouldn’t be enough to close the gap in “modernizing readiness and the size of forces.”
“We should recognize that with these chronic underpayments and growing threats, even two percent of GDP is insufficient to close the gaps in modernizing readiness and the size of forces. We have to make up for the many years lost. Two percent is the bare minimum for confronting today’s very real and very vicious threats. If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, then NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism,” he said.
Trump began his speech by calling for a moment of silence for the victims of this week’s terrorist attacks at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
“The recent attack on Manchester in the United Kingdom demonstrates the depths of the evil we face with terrorism. Innocent little girls and so many others were horribly murdered and badly injured while attending a concert – beautiful lives with so much great potential torn from their families forever and ever. It was a barbaric and vicious attack upon our civilization,” he said.
“All people who cherish life must unite in finding, exposing and removing these killers and extremists. And yes, losers. They are losers. Wherever they exist in our societies, we must drive them out and never ever let them back in,” the president said.
Trump said he took “this call for driving out terrorism” to “a historic gathering of Arab and Muslim leaders across the region hosted by Saudi Arabia.
“There I spent much time with King Salman, a wise man who wants to see things get much better rapidly,” Trump said, referring to Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
“The leaders of the Middle East have agreed at this unprecedented meeting to stop funding the radical ideology that leads to this horrible terrorism all over the globe,” Trump said. “My travels and meetings have given me a renewed hope that nations of many faiths can unite to defeat terrorism – a common threat to all of humanity.
“Terrorism must be stopped in its tracks or the horror you saw in Manchester and so many other places will continue forever. You have thousands and thousands of people pouring into our various countries and spreading throughout, and in many cases, we have no idea who they are. We must be tough. We must be strong, and we must be vigilant,” he said.
Trump also extending his appreciation to the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York for contributing a remnant of the North Tower of the World Trade Center and to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German people for donating a portion of the Berlin Wall.
“It is truly fitting that these two artifacts now reside here so close together at the new NATO headquarters – and I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost. I refuse to do that, but it is beautiful,” he said.