Trump Praises Italy’s Fight Against Terrorism And Pushes Gentiloni on Defense Spending TRUMP:  Italy is also a key partner in the fight against terrorism. Italy is now the second-largest contributor of troops to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I would also like to thank you, Prime Minister, for your leadership on seeking stabilization in Libya, and for your crucial efforts to deny ISIS a foothold in the Mediterranean.  You fought hard.  We’re grateful for your role in the anti-ISIS campaign.  All nations must condemn this barbaric enemy and support the effort to achieve its total and complete destruction.

Also, as you know, Mr. Prime Minister, we have more than 30,000 American service members, families, and personnel who are stationed across your country.  As we reaffirm our support for historic institutions, we must also reaffirm the requirement that everyone must pay their full and fair share for the cost of defense….

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS:  Mr. Prime Minister, you talked just a moment ago about your commitment to NATO.  President Trump would like to see all NATO members contribute 2 percent of their GDP to NATO.  Your contribution is slightly less than 1 percent.  Will you commit to committing 2 percent of your GDP to the Alliance going forward?  Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, first of all, I love the question you asked the Prime Minister.  I look forward to his answer — (laughter) — because I’m going to be asking him that same question very soon….

PRIME MINISTER GENTILONI:  As far as the question is concerned, the commitment has been made.  It was made during a NATO summit.  And we are used to respecting our commitments.  We know that this will be a gradual process; it has already begun.  And we know that Italy has certain limitations when it comes to its budget, but despite these limitations our commitment for common defense is very clear.

And, as I said earlier, I’m very proud not only of the progress made in our financial commitment, but also proud of the contribution that we give to the security of the Alliance in so many areas of the world.  We talked about Iraq and Afghanistan, but we could also talk about the Baltic Sea or the Balkans.  And in all of these areas, you will see the presence of Italian forces within the Alliance, and we are proud of that.

Excerpts from press conference with President Donald Trump and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, April 20, 2017.

Image: Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and President Donald Trump, April 20, 2017, (photo: Office of the Prime Minister of Italy)