Trump: ‘We Do Have a Lot of Allies, But We Cannot Be Taken Advantage of’

By Melanie Arter | July 10, 2018 | 11:55 AM EDT

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump (Screenshot)

( – President Donald Trump responded to comments made by European Council President Donald Tusk that the U.S. should cherish its allies, because it doesn’t have that many, by saying that the U.S. will not be taken advantage of.

“Well, we do have a lot of allies, but we cannot be taken advantage of. We're being taken advantage of by the European Union. We lost $151 billion last year on trade, and on top of that, we spend at least 70 percent for NATO, and, frankly, it helps them a lot more than it helps us. So we'll see what happens. We have a long, beautiful week,” he said.

Speaking on the eve of the NATO summit, Tusk addressed Trump in a statement, saying, “First of all, dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many.”

Tusk said Trump “has been criticising Europe almost daily for, in his view, insufficient contributions to the common defence capabilities, and for living off the US.”

“Dear President Trump: America does not have, and will not have a better ally than Europe. Today Europeans spend on defence many times more than Russia, and as much as China. And I think you can have no doubt, Mr President, that this is an investment in common American and European defence and security. Which can't be said with confidence about Russian or Chinese spending,” Tusk said.

Tusk also called on Europe to spend more on its defense, “because everyone respects an ally that is well-prepared and equipped.”

“Money is important, but genuine solidarity is even more important. Speaking about solidarity, I want to dispel the American President's argument, which says that the US alone protects Europe against our enemies, and that the US is almost alone in this struggle,” the European Council president said.

“Europe was first to respond on a large scale when the US was attacked, and called for solidarity after 9/11. European soldiers have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in Afghanistan,” he said, adding that “870 brave European men and women sacrificed their lives, including 40 soldiers from my homeland Poland.”

“Dear Mr President, please remember about this tomorrow, when we meet at the NATO summit, but above all when you meet president Putin in Helsinki. It is always worth knowing: who is your strategic friend? And who is your strategic problem?” Tusk concluded.

Trump has been outspoken about the need for NATO members to pay their fair share to the North Atlantic Fair Treaty Organization (NATO).

“The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable. 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.......” Trump tweeted Monday.

“...Europe far more than it does the U.S. By some accounts, the U.S. is paying for 90% of NATO, with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitment. On top of this the European Union has a Trade Surplus of $151 Million with the U.S., with big Trade Barriers on U.S. goods. NO!” he added.

Meanwhile, Trump told reporters that NATO has not treated the U.S. “fairly,” but he expressed optimism that they would be able to “work something out.”

“We pay far too much, and they pay far too little, but we will work it out, and all countries will be happy. With the UK, that's a situation that's been going on for a long time,” he said. “So I have NATO, I have the UK, which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think? Who would think? But the UK certainly has a -- they have a lot of things going on.”

Trump said he had not talked to UK Prime Minister Theresa May since UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigned over May’s Brexit strategy.

“I have not. No, I have not, but Boris Johnson is a friend of mine. He's been very, very nice to me and very supportive, and maybe we'll speak to him when I get over there. I like Boris Johnson. I've always liked him,” the president said.

When asked whether May should remain in power, Trump said, “Well, that's up to the people. I get along with her very well. I have a very good relationship. That's certainly up to the people, not up to me,” Trump said.

According to NATO’s website, the United States leads NATO-member states with 22.1 percent of the NATO budget, followed by Germany with 14.7 percent, France with 10.5, the UK with 10.5, Italy with 8.1 percent, and Canada with 6.3 percent.


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