TRUMP: They had a quote from me that NATO’s obsolete. But they didn’t say why it was obsolete. I was on Wolf Blitzer, very fair interview, the first time I was ever asked about NATO, because I wasn’t in government. People don’t go around asking about NATO if I’m building a building in Manhattan, right? So they asked me, Wolf … asked me about NATO, and I said two things. NATO’s obsolete – not knowing much about NATO, now I know a lot about NATO – NATO is obsolete, and I said, ‘And the reason it’s obsolete is because of the fact they don’t focus on terrorism.’ You know, back when they did NATO there was no such thing as terrorism.
AP: What specifically has NATO changed
TRUMP: (Cites Wall Street Journal Article) … I did an interview with Wolf Blitzer, and I said NATO was obsolete- I said two things- obsolete, and the countr[ies] aren’t paying. I was right about both. I took such heat for about three days on both, because nobody ever criticized NATO. I took heat like you wouldn’t believe. And then some expert on NATO said, “You Know, Trump is right.” But I said it was obsolete because they weren’t focused on terror….”
It’s not fair that we’re paying close to 4 percent and other countries that are more directly affected are paying 1 percent when they’re supposed to be paying 2 percent. And I’m very strong on it and I’m going to be very strong on it when I go there in a month….”
TRUMP: Yeah, it’s funny: One of the best chemistries I had was with (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel….
AP: Did you expect you would have good chemistry with her?
TRUMP: No. Because, um, I’m at odds on, you know, the NATO payments and I’m at odds on immigration. We had unbelievable chemistry….
TRUMP: I’ve developed great relationships with all of these leaders. Nobody’s written that. In fact, they said, ‘Oh, well, he’s not treating them nicely,” because on NATO, I want them to pay up. But I still get along with them great, and they will pay up. In fact, with the Italian Prime Minister yesterday, you saw, we were joking, “Come on, you have to pay up, you have to pay up.” He’ll pay.
AP: Did he say that? In your meeting? Your private meeting?
TRUMP: He’s going to end up paying. But you know, nobody ever asked the question. Nobody asked. Nobody ever asked him to pay up. So it’s a different kind of a presidency.
Excepts from AP interview with President Donald Trump, April 24, 2017.