President Trump took little time to grab headlines at the start of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit Wednesday, singling out German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her country’s gas deal with Russia.
Trump accused Germany of being “captive to Russia” due to its support of an offshore pipeline that transfers gas directly from Russia to the Baltic Sea, which he said “never should have been allowed to happen.”
“We’re supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump asserted.
Bilateral Breakfast with NATO Secretary General in Brussels, Belgium... pic.twitter.com/l0EP3lzhCM— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2018
Not stopping there, the U.S. president called on Germany and other NATO allies to increase their defense spending.
Chancellor Merkel responded to Trump’s criticisms by saying her country makes “independent decisions,” while also pointing out that Germany is the second largest funder of NATO troops, behind the U.S.
The two world leaders have had their fair share of disagreements, including one point where they didn’t speak for five straight months, which is not typical for the U.S. and Germany.
However, the leaders met later Wednesday, and expressed an improving relationship.
When speaking to the press about the U.S. president, Merkel said, “we are good partners and we wish to continue to cooperate in the future.”
Trump called the two leaders' relationship “very, very good.”
After the earlier dispute between the the leaders’ dominated the morning news in the U.S., Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi took to Twitter to express her disgust with Trump’s remarks.
“His behavior this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the President is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies,” she tweeted.
THREAD: @realDonaldTrump’s brazen insults & denigration of one of America’s most steadfast allies, Germany, is an embarrassment. His behavior this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the President is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies.— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) July 11, 2018
The congresswoman’s statement makes little sense, as Trump’s critique of Germany is in response to their economic support for Russia through the two country’s gas deal. Germany is the biggest importer of Russian gas in the EU, which according to Pelosi's statement, doesn't appear to be a problem. The only Russian collusion that seems to matter to Democrats is the one that has no real proof of existence.
Trump is scheduled to meet with Putin next week.