[Excerpts from remarks by President Donald Trump and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, June 11, 2018.]
Q Mr. President, which countries did you want to spend more on NATO in particular?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Just look at the chart. Take a look at the chart. It’s public. And many countries are not paying what they should. And, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they’re delinquent, as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them. So if you go back 10 or 20 years, you’ll just add it all up. It’s massive amounts of money is owed. The United States has paid and stepped up like nobody. This has gone on for decades, by the way. This has gone on for many Presidents. But no other President brought it up like I bring it up. So something has to be done, and the Secretary General has been working on it very hard.
This year, since our last meeting, commitments have been made for over $40 billion more money spent by other countries. So that’s a step, but it’s a very small step. It sounds like a lot of money, and it is. But it’s a very small amount of money relative to what they owe and to what they should be paying. And it’s an unfair burden on the United States….
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I have to say, I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia. So we’re protecting Germany. We’re protecting France. We’re protecting all of these countries. And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia, where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia.
So we’re protect you against Russia, but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that’s very inappropriate. And the former Chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas. Ultimately, Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas.
So you tell me, is that appropriate? I mean, I’ve been complaining about this from the time I got in. It should have never been allowed to have happened. But Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline. And you tell me if that’s appropriate, because I think it’s not, and I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO and I don’t think it should have happened. And I think we have to talk to Germany about it.
On top of that, Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 percent, whereas the United States, in actual numbers, is paying 4.2 percent of a much larger GDP. So I think that’s inappropriate also. You know, we’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France. We’re protecting everybody. And yet we’re paying a lot of money to protect.
Now, this has been going on for decades. This has been brought up by other presidents. But other presidents never did anything about it because I don’t think they understood it or they just didn’t want to get involved.
But I have to bring it up, because I think it’s very unfair to our country. It’s very unfair to our taxpayer. And I think that these countries have to step it up not over a 10-year period; they have to step it up immediately. Germany is a rich country. They talk about they’re going to increase it a tiny bit by 2030. Well, they could increase it immediately tomorrow and have no problem. I don’t think it’s fair to the United States.
So we’re going to have to do something because we’re not going to put up with it. We can’t put up with it. And it’s inappropriate.
So we have to talk about the billions and billions of dollars that’s being paid to the country that we’re supposed to be protecting you against. You know, everybody is talking about it all over the world. They’ll say, well, wait a minute, we’re supposed to be protecting you from Russia, but why are you paying billions of dollars to Russia for energy? Why are countries in NATO, namely Germany, having a large percentage of their energy needs paid to Russia and taken care of by Russia?
Now, if you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply. They got rid of their coal plants. They got rid of their nuclear. They’re getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia. I think it’s something that NATO has to look at. I think it’s very inappropriate. You and I agree that it’s inappropriate. I don’t know what you can do about it now, but it certainly doesn’t seem to make sense that they paid billions of dollars to Russia and now we have to defend them against Russia….
PRESIDENT TRUMP: But how can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the person you want protection against or from the group that you want protection?
SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG: Because we understand that when we stand together, also in dealing with Russia, we are stronger. I think what we have seen is that —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, you’re just making Russia richer. You’re not dealing with Russia. You’re making Russia richer….
Q What are the consequences if they don’t spend more, Mr. President?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: They will spend more. I have great confidence that they’ll spend more. I have great confidence.
Q Mr. President, does something have to change on trade for you to keep your troop levels in Europe?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I have great confidence that they will be spending more money, as they should be….