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Trump says NATO countries spent ‘billions’ after he threatened to not defend EU

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“I said that’s exactly what it means,” he said. “And the following day, billions and billions of dollars came pouring in.”

A
POLITICO report
earlier this month revealed that Trump had told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in 2020 that the U.S. wouldn’t come to Europe’s defense if it was attacked.

Trump’s campaign had not responded to previous requests for comment on the meeting. It is unclear if Trump was referring at his Friday rally to the specific conversation with von der Leyen.

At the NATO summit in Wales in 2014, alliance members made a pledge to spend 2 percent of their GNP on their own defense by 2024, though
only a fraction are set to reach
that goal.

Trump repeatedly
criticized members
for not spending as much as the U.S. on their own defense, though Washington’s GNP is much greater than other NATO members.

After publication of Trump’s previous comments, President Joe Biden’s campaign
assailed Trump
.

“The idea that he would abandon our allies if he doesn’t get his way underscores what we already know to be true about Donald Trump: The only person he cares about is himself,” Biden campaign spokesperson Ammar Moussa said in a statement.

French European Commissioner Thierry Breton, who recounted the von der Leyen meeting, called his threat “a big wake-up call.”

“Now more than ever, we know that we are on our own, of course. We are a member of NATO, almost all of us, of course we have allies, but we have no other options but to increase drastically this pillar in order to be ready [for] whatever happens,” he said at an event in the European Parliament in Brussels earlier this month.

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