July 4, 2018
Congressman Criticizes 'Needlessly Provocative' Trump Letter to Norway
By Rick Larsen, Office of Congressman Rick Larsen
[Excerpts from Congressman Rick Larsen's letter to President Donald Trump]
Dear President Trump:
As a co-chair of the Friends of Norway Caucus and a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I read your June 19 letter to Norwegian Prime Minister Solberg with great concern. I share your desire to see all NATO member states meet their goal of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense, but believe your needlessly provocative letter omitted key facts....
As you noted, some of Norway’s equipment spending is on U.S. made products like the F-35 and P-8. U.S. companies face international competition in the defense industry. American workers would likely be upset if your unnecessarily combative language led allies to seek different suppliers.
I also hope you understand that Norway’s importance cannot be expressed in a single number. Norwegian service members have fought side-by-side with U.S. forces in Afghanistan and flown combat missions over Libya. Norwegian companies also make high quality equipment U.S. servicemembers rely on. Norway further contributes to U.S. national security by being a world leader in development assistance....
You wrote that “it will... become increasingly difficult to justify to American citizens why some countries continue to fail to meet our shared collective security requirements.” If this sentence is a veiled threat to reduce U.S. commitment to a NATO ally, it is written in extraordinarily poor judgment. But if you are genuine in seeking to better explain to the American people Norway’s contributions to collective security, I hope my letter may serve as some assistance.Full Text of Letter