President Donald Trump said Thursday that he is not threatening to pull the United States out of NATO and is 'very happy' with the alliance now that member nations agreed to step up their contributions 'like never before.'
At a hastily-scheduled news conference, Trump pronounced, 'The United States' commitment to NATO is very strong, remains very strong.'
Trump said he was encouraged by members nations' 'spirit' and their willingness to increase the amount of money they're spending on defense after telling them he'd be 'very unhappy' if they did not meet a 2 percent GDP goal.
The president told reporters in Belgium that he has 'no problem' with NATO now that member nations have agreed to spend at least $33 billion more on their collective defense. 'We made a tremendous amount of progress today,' the American president said.
Trump attempted to calm fears in Brussels by promising that he's a 'stable genius' who will not change his mind once he leaves the summit. Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel had told reporters that Trump 'was in a good mood' but said he 'has Wi-Fi on the plane, so we will have to see in the end.'
The U.S. president left an emergency session of NATO's top body to set the record straight in the international press before an afternoon departure from Brussels.
'Yesterday, I let them know that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening and they have substantially upped their commitment,' a pleased Trump announced. 'And now we're very happy, and we have a very, very powerful, very, very strong NATO. Much stronger than it was two days ago.'
President Donald Trump said Thursday that he is not threatening to pull the United States out of NATO after member nations agreed to step up their contributions
NATO devolved into chaos on Thursday as President Trump reportedly threatened to pull out of the organization if countries refuse to meet not only a 2 percent spending commitment but double it to four.
Trump reportedly told leaders the U.S. would go it alone if NATO nations do not step up their contributions.
He suggested at a news conference that leaders were right to be worried and admitted to being 'very firm' in his remarks to allies on the first day of the summit in a closed-door session.
'Today and yesterday, I was probably a little bit more firm,' he said of the tone he took. 'But I believe in NATO. I think NATO's a very important, probably the greatest ever done, but the United States was paying for anywhere from 70-90 percent of it, depending on the way you calculate, that's not fair to the United States.'
In addition to that, he said the U.S. is being 'treated very fairly on trade' by the European Union.
'Now you could say they're different, but basically, to a larger extent, they're the same countries. So I think we're ultimately gonna be treated fairly on trade, we'll see what happens. But I can tell you that NATO now is really a fine-tuned machine, people are paying money that they never paid before. They're happy to do it.'
Trump offered a surprising response to a question on whether he may tweet on the way out of town and disrupt any accords that he may have reached -- a reference to how he blew up a joint statement after he left the G7 summit in June in Canada.
'No, that's other people that do that,' Trump said. 'I don't. I'm very consistent.' He added with a smile: 'I'm a very stable genius.'
The quip was a reference to his own boast on Twitter that he's a 'stable genius' as he pushed back on the 'witch hunt' Mueller probe at a time when his mental capacity was being questioned.
The president told reporters in Belgium that he has 'no problem' with NATO now that member nations have agreed to spend at least $33 billion more on their collective defense
Trump attempted to calm fears in Brussels by promising that he's a 'stable genius' who will not change his mind once he leaves the summit
But Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel (third from left) told reporters that Trump 'was in a good mood' but said he 'has Wi-Fi on the plane, so we will have to see in the end.'
French President Emmnauel Macron backed Trump up in remarks of his own at the end of the summit.
'President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO,' Macron said.
At his press conference, Macron appeared to reject Trump's claim that NATO nations had agreed to increase their contributions as a result of the president's badgering over the past two days.
He said that allies had reaffirmed a commitment to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense by 2024.
Trump said that countries would be 'spending at a much faster clip' because of the conversations. He triumphantly declared victory as he left, saying the number could even be higher than the $33 billion he had just announced.
'We get total credit, me in this case, because i said it was unfair,' Trump said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg later estimated that the spending would be $41 billion higher than it was when Trump took office. He attributed the overall increase to President Trump's pushing and the 'frank' discussions that NATO nations had in their closed off sessions.
'That is what we do among friends and allies,' he said. 'All allies have heard President Trump's message loud and clear.'
The U.S. president had headed into his second day of NATO talks determined to convince fellow world leaders that they must hike the organization's defense spending levels.
Trump said once again that the United States is paying far too much for their collective security and that all nations, especially the wealthy ones, need to jack their contributions up.
'On top of it all, Germany just started paying Russia, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russia,' he tweeted. 'Not acceptable! All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!'
Hours before, Trump had made his displeasure with known in a tweet that asked 'what good is NATO' as he continued to harangue Germany for the Russian pipeline agreement.
The message spooked leaders from collective. A source told the Times of London that Trump warned them in person that 'we are going to do our own thing' if NATO nations do not increase their defense spending contributions. The threat led to 'total stunned silence and then utter panic' in the room.
Trump reportedly gave them a January deadline to meet a previously-established 2 percent guideline after complaining publicly that their plan to do it by 2024 was not quick enough.
At his news conference at NATO's headquarters just prior to his departure from Brussels, Trump said promised to do it in a 'very short' period of time and he was satisfied.
Trump came face-to-face with Canada's Justin Trudeau for the first time since senior aides to Trump accused the prime minister of trying to sabotage the American president's Singapore summit
Overnight, while other visiting leaders like France's Emmanuel Macron (left) were taking in Brussels, the U.S. president hammered away at them on Twitter. He also questioned the utility of the military alliance that contested the Soviets to a draw
Trump earlier hammered Merkel for taking part in a deal that would give Germany direct access to Russian energy supplies and cut out Eastern European nations fearful of Moscow's leverage
Trump will next meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May when he flies to the UK on Thursday afternoon
But Trump seemed placated by the time he finished the summit, touting U.S. military hardware purchases and indicating that more sales were on the way.
He name-checked defense manufacturers Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and Northrop Grumman.
'The equipment that we make is so far superior that everyone wants to buy our equipment,' Trump said.
Trump repeatedly brought up his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well.
He said he would raise the sensitive issue of election meddling with the man U.S. intelligence concluded directed a 2016 campaign meant to Trump's opponent.
'It's one of those things. All I can say is: 'Did you?' And 'Don't do it again,'' Trump professed. 'But he may deny it. You'll be the first to know,' Trump told reporters.
Trump also joked about the topic – which prompted a two year-long Russia probe – as 'your favorite question' to a journalist who had not asked about it.
'I think we go into that meeting not looking for so much,' Trump said. 'We want to find out about Syria.'
He added, 'We will of course ask your favorite question about meddling.' Raising the topic himself, Trump said, 'I will be asking that question again. But we'll obviously be talking about other things.'
Trump also warned Europeans that immigration was 'taking over' their continent and said they should be cautious.
'Immigration's a very important thing,' Trump said, after musing on the Brexit topic that he earlier said sent the British government into 'turmoil.' The president said, 'And I told them today the EU – the European Union – better be very careful because immigration is taking over Europe and they'd better be very, very careful. Now I said that loud and clear.'
Air Force One carrying U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump's comes in to land at Stansted Airport to begin his British visit
Trump was due to spend hours behind closed doors with fellow leaders before departing Brussels on Thursday afternoon for a two-day swing through the U.K. but showed up late to the summit causing him to miss opening remarks at a working session with the delegations from Georgia and Ukraine
Delegations arrive for a working session of NATO leaders and the delegations from Ukraine and Georgia
Security personnel stand alert on a rooftop watch over the summit with sniper rifles at the ready
Trump was due to spend hours behind closed doors with fellow leaders before departing Brussels on Thursday afternoon for a two-day swing through the U.K. but showed up late to the summit causing him to miss opening remarks at a working session with the delegations from Georgia and Ukraine.
His tardy entry to the session fanned fears that he would leave the summit early or withdraw like he did at the G7 in Canada from a joint-nation communique.
The president who championed the 'Art of the Deal' indicated that he was ready for battle in the morning by dashing off new tweets that were critical of NATO's defense position.
Instead of asking allies to meet an uncontested 2 percent goal that they agreed in 2014 to reach by 2024, Trump said they need to plan for 4 percent.
Addressing one of his own weaknesses, an alleged entanglement between his presidential campaign and Russia, Trump said that NATO allies should look in the mirror and consider what they might to differently to protect themselves from Vladimir Putin.
'Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russia. They pay only a fraction of their cost. The U.S. pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe, and loses Big on Trade!' he complained.
Overnight, while other visiting leaders like France's Emmanuel Macron were taking in Brussels, the U.S. president hammered away at them on Twitter. He also questioned the utility of the military alliance that contested the Soviets to a draw.
Just hours after he unleashed a tirade against Germany at a breakfast with the NATO secretary general, Trump asked, 'What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?''
He has been attacking the $11 billion pipeline deal between Germany and Russia while deflecting from his own alleged ties to Vladimir Putin. East Europeans fear the pipeline deal could leave them vulnerable, and Trump said Wednesday it makes Germany 'captive' to and 'totally controlled' by Russia.
At home, it's Trump who is under fire for working too closely with Putin. His administration is facing off against special counsel Robert Mueller and his Russian election meddling probe.
Trump attempted to shift the spotlight to Berlin at NATO, saying in a late-night tweet: 'Billions of additional dollars are being spent by NATO countries since my visit last year, at my request, but it isn't nearly enough. U.S. spends too much. Europe's borders are BAD! Pipeline dollars to Russia are not acceptable!'
'What good is NATO?' asked Trump as he resumed his attacks on Germany and allies who are spending less than 2 per cent of their GDP on defense
President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their bilateral meeting, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium
Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (L) and US President Donald Trump give a thumbs up at the start of a working dinner at the Nato summit in Brussels
Heads of state take part in a working dinner at The Parc du Cinquantenaire - Jubelpark Park in Brussels as Trump berates European nations over their consistent failure to spend 2 per cent of their GDP on their own security
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, talks with first lady Melania Trump, right, at the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels during the summit
U.S. President Donald Trump looks back at British Prime Minister Theresa May during a dinner at the Art and History Museum in Brussels
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) with France's President Emmanuel Macron (L), Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel (C, front) and Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg (C, back) pose for a photograph at the summit. None of the leaders spends the agreed 2 per cent of GDP on defence
'The U.S. is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025,' Trump wrote.
Bulgaria's president had revealed earlier in the day that Trumptold leaders he wants them to boost NATO spending to 4 percent of their Gross Domestic Product.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed the request saying, 'President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations.'
Trump started and finished his NATO appearance with a bang, having unleashed his fury at breakfast Wednesday with the NATO secretary general. Trump said lambasted Germany's energy partnership with Russia and threatened Berlin with U.S. action over the deal that he said is wholly inappropriate.
Trump fumed that 'Germany is a captive of Russia' and said the U.S. would 'have to do something' in light of the pipeline deal that's funneling billions of dollars to Moscow.
'Germany is totally controlled by Russia,' he charged. 'I think its a very bad thing for NATO, and I don't think it should have happened.'
Stoltenberg reminded him that the U.S. and Europe are 'stronger together than apart' and that has been proven by two World Wars and the alliance's dealings with Russia.
Trump told him in response, 'No, you're just making Russia richer. You're not dealing with Russia, you're making Russia richer.'
The confrontation stunned the leaders' senior advisers, including Trump's secretaries of defense and state. A press aide demanded the media leave the room as Trump pushed Stoltenberg to explain how the U.S. is supposed to protect Germany when it's opening its front door to Vladimir Putin.
Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday for defending Germany's energy partnership with Russia after Stoltenberg reminded him that the U.S. and Europe are 'stronger together than apart
Belgian Prime Minister Michel's partner Amelie Derbaudrenghien (R), US First Lady Melania Trump (C) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's wife Ingrid Schulerud (L) chat prior to a NATO spouses dinner
Stoltenberg inadvertently whipped the U.S. president into a frenzy at an internationally-broadcast breakfast by asking Trump about his upcoming meeting with Putin. Trump responded with a tirade on Germany and its weaknesses and griped, again, about lagging contributions from members of the NATO alliance.
Trump gave Stoltenberg an earful with media present, telling the visibly startled NATO chief, 'We're protecting Germany. We're protecting France. We're protecting everybody, and yet, we're paying a lot of money to protect.'
Trump said that past presidents did not confront America's allies because they did not want to meddle in their affairs or they were blind to the problem.
'I think that these countries have to step it up — not over a 10-year-period — they have to step it up immediately,' Trump demanded. 'Germany is a rich country. They talk about they're gonna increase it a tiny bit by 2030. Well, they could increase it immediately tomorrow and have no problem.'
NATO leaders and spouses pose ahead of a working dinner at The Parc du Cinquantenaire - Jubelpark Park in Brussels during the Nato summit
US President Donald J. Trump (L) and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for a leaders' dinner during a NATO Summit in Brussels
Nato heads of state and government pose for a family photo in front of the Arcades du Cinquantenaire in Brussels, Belgium
The United States' more than 4 percent GDP contribution to the security group compared to its European allies is 'very unfair' to the American taxpayer, he said in a familiar complaint.
'I don't think it's fair to the United States, so we're going to have to do something, because we're not gonna put up with it. We can't put up with it, and it's inappropriate,' Trump on Wednesday proclaimed. '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.'
A new NATO report actually puts the U.S. contribution at 3.5 percent of the nation's GDP in 2018. Still, it's significantly more than the next closest country. Germany's spending on defense as a percentage of GDP was on par with a handful of other NATO nations at 1.24 percent, putting it at the mid-to-lower end of the pack.
A new NATO report actually puts the U.S. contribution at 3.5 per cent of the nation's GDP in 2018. Still, it's significantly more than the next closest country - and nearly three times as much as Germany
TERSE TALKS: Trump fumed that 'Germany is a captive of Russia' and said the U.S. would 'have to do something' about a gas deal that's funneling billions into Moscow's economy
U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of Defence James Mattis, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Trump began his Wednesday morning rant by telling Stoltenberg that it's 'very sad' when Germany, France and 'numerous of the countries go out and then make a pipeline deal with Russia' and then expect the U.S. to foot the bill for their security.
'So we're supposed to protect you against Russia but they're paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that's very inappropriate,' Trump said. 'And the former chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that's supplying the gas.'
Trump informed Stoltenberg that 'Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas' when the deal is fully realized.
'So you tell me is that appropriate?' he said. 'I mean I've been complaining about this from the time I got in. It should never have never been allowed to have happened.'
People participate in a demonstration against NATO and war in front of the 'Cinquantenaire' where the gala dinner for the NATO leaders summit is being held
A woman holds what appears to be a gigantic origami swan over her head during demonstrations against Nato in Brussels
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and US President Donald Trump shake hands during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Nato summit
Activists from civil society organisations take part in a protest rally as leaders arrive for a working dinner at The Parc du Cinquantenaire - Jubelpark Park in Brussels
Now, he said, 'Germany is totally controlled by Russia...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.'
Merkel told press in German as she arrived at NATO that her country makes 'independent decisions,' according to a translation of her remarks on NATO's blue arrival carpet by AFP.
'I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being occupied by the Soviet Union,' said Merkel, who was born and raised in East Germany, in her native tougue.
She touched on her nation's communist history, saying. 'I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions.'
The White House said after the president's remarks went wide that he would hold private talks in the afternoon on the sidelines of the summit with Merkel and then meet separately with France's president.
Merkel and Trump subsequently held a full-fledged bilateral that they allowed reporters into at the end to witness their making of brief cordial statements. Trump said he spoke to Merkel about the pipeline deal but provided no details on what was said.
Trump told Stoltenberg that the alliance must confront Germany over its gas deal with Russia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen her on Wednesday during her Cabinet meeting in Berlin. She'll see Trump later today at NATO
Trump said last week at a rally that he told Merkel in an undated conversation that he couldn't commit to protecting Germany from Putin's army
In bringing up the gas deal on Wednesday, Trump returned to an issue he had raised before his trip in an attempt to put Germany on the defensive while simultaneously pushing back on the narrative that it is the U.S. that is cozying up to Moscow.
For much of the past year, it has been Trump who has been under attack for resisting sanctions imposed on Russia for its election interference. His frequent praise of Putin and his repeated attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe have also been the subject of national and international scrutiny.
But in Brussels, it was Trump who hammered Merkel for taking part in a deal that would give Germany direct access to Russian energy supplies and cut out Eastern European nations fearful of Moscow's leverage.
In March, Germany reached a deal to allow Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom to run its Nord Stream 2 pipeline through its waters. The $11 billion deal immediately outraged Eastern European allies.
Russia has used its oil and gas to pressure and punish its neighbors. In a shock move, the parties announced the deal a day after Germany joined UK in protesting the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Great Britain.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the Alliance's headquarters ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels
She will continue talking to Trump after everyone else has gone home as she is hosting the U.S. President in Britain for a two-day visit
The pipeline will send Russian oil and gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea. Poland and other Eastern European countries fear the pipeline could leave them vulnerable to Russian pressure.
In May, a State Department official weighed in against the project. Deputy Assistant Secretary Sandra Oudkirk said the pipeline could allow Russia to exert 'malign influence' in Europe. But the pipeline company said the project wouldn't be used to blackmail other countries.
Stoltenberg unequivocally said at a news conference that followed his meeting on Wednesday with Trump that the pipeline deal is 'a national decision' and 'it's not for NATO to decide.'
'It's not for NATO to solve this issue,' he asserted.
Trump had bashed Germany over the pipeline issue at a campaign rally last Thursday in Montana, where he also raised the ally's defense spending.
'They go out and make a gas deal, oil and gas, from Russia, where they pay billions and billions of dollars to Russia. They want to protect against Russia, and yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia,' Trump said then.
He said at the rally that he told Merkel that he could not ensure her nation's security as a result.
U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels on Wednesday
Trump informed Stoltenberg that 'Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas' when the deal is fully realized
Germany's defense minister told CNBC after Trump's assault on her country on Wednesday that two weeks ago she had occasion to visit the United States and was reassured by her conversations with American lawmakers of the strength of the trans-Atlantic alliance.
'The president is as the president is. We know him and we can cope with that,' Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen told CNBC from outside of NATO's headquarters. 'This rhetoric also leads us to remember that a lot is at stake.'
Von der Leyen said that generations that came of age after WWII have taken peace for granted. 'Now, we have to fight for democracy. We have to secure our international order, our peace architecture,' she said.
Trump arrived in Brussels on the defense on Tuesday after the EU Council's head berated him at an off-site event that was attached to the NATO summit. He quickly took an offensive position, demanding leaders up their defensive spending in order to secure the future of the alliance.
Prior to Trump's arrival, European Council chief Donald Tusk said the U.S. president should be more careful with his taunts, because 'America does not have and will not have a better ally than Europe.'
'Today Europeans spend on defense many times more than Russia and as much as China,' he said in remarks that were addressed to Trump. 'And I think you can have no doubt, Mr. President, that this is an investment in common American and European defense and security.'
Then, in the toughest challenge yet to the U.S. president, Tusk said: 'America: appreciate your allies. After all you don't have that many.'
U.S. President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday that European leaders can expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit and faced an immediate brush-back from European Council President Donald Tusk
Trump signaled in early morning tweets that foreign leaders can expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit over the 'unfair' burden on the U.S. taxpayer to pay for Europe's protection. He's seen here in May of 2017 at a working dinner at last year's NATO gathering
Trump fired back minutes later as he left the White House en route to NATO.
'We do have a lot of allies. But we cannot be taken advantage of. We're being taken advantage of by the European Union,' he told DailyMail.com. 'We lost $151 billion last year on trade, and on top of that we spend at least 70 per cent for NATO, and frankly it helps them a lot more than it helps us. So we'll see what happens.'
Trump had invited the challenge in the lead-up to the alliance's summertime summit by pillorying NATO member nations in almost-day tirades.
Just prior to Tusk's comments on Tuesday, Trump complained that the United States is bearing the brunt of the 29-nation security alliance's costs and said that it's not fair to Americans, especially when the U.S. is getting hosed in economic markets.
'The U.S. is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer,' he griped. 'On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!'
After Tusk's slap at him — which the EU Council leader also tweeted at Trump — the president doubled down on his position, saying, 'NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!'
Trump woke up early on Tuesday chagrined about the United States' trade relationship with allies that are part of the Brussels-based security and their lacking contributions to NATO's defense fund
Tusk fired back at Trump from NATO's new headquarter city of Brussels: 'America: appreciate your allies. After all you don't have that many'
Tusk had acknowledged in his remarks that European countries need to step up their contributions.
'Everyone expects an ally that is well-prepared and equipped,' he said.
The EU Council chief assessed that 'money is important' yet said that 'genuine solidarity is even more important.'
'Speaking about solidarity, I want to dispel the American president's argument which says that the U.S. alone protects Europe against our enemies, and threat the U.S. is almost alone in this struggle,' he said in a repudiation of Trump's statements.
Tusk argued that Europe 'was first to respond on a large scale' when terrorists attacked the U.S. on 9/11. He further noted that European soldiers have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in Afghanistan.
But Trump refused to climb down from his position as he spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning local time from the White House's South Lawn.
'NATO has not treated us fairly, but I think we'll work something out. We pay far too much and they pay far too little,' he said. 'But we will work it out and all countries will be happy.'
Trump refused to climb down from his position as he spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning local time from the White House's South Lawn. 'NATO has not treated us fairly...We pay far too much and they pay far too little'
Trump had invited the challenge in the lead-up to the alliance's summertime summit by pillorying NATO member nations in almost-day tirades
With Trump in the air, it was his NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison who was left to do the talking for him at a news conference where Trump's flattery of Putin and his disagreements with Merkel and Tusk came up.
Hutchison told reporters that Trump backs Article 5 of NATO's charter, which specifies that an attack on one is an attack on all.
'He is committed to Article 5 protection just as it is in he NATO charter,' she told press who arrived at the NATO summit in advance of the U.S. president.
She also stressed that 'the importance of unity in NATO is what makes us different' from other alliances that the U.S. and Europe are a part of.
'I will say that in all of the disagreements that have happened between President Trump and the United States' position and the EU,' Hutchsion said, 'our allies in NATO have remained steadfastly focused on the NATO issues, and we are in agreement, we are in unity on our security issues, and we are an alliance that has performed better, increasing our capabilities.'
Hutchison said that while Trump is hard on Germany, he believes he is 'pulling them toward us, not away from us.'
Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (second from left) arrives for a NATO summit in Brussels with her entourage
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrive at the Alliance's headquarters ahead of the NATO summit
At a news conference just before Hutchison's, Stoltenberg had thanked Trump for the push as he informally kicking off the 2018 summit.
'It is clearly having an impact,' he said. 'We estimate that European allies and Canada will add an extra $266 billion USD to defense between now and 2024. This is significant.'
Stoltenberg said that eight countries are on track to hit their contribution targets this year compared to three in 2014.
At the presser he said he was confident that leaders would be able to put their differences over trade aside as they have done in the past, because NATO has a good story to tell.
When it comes to defense spending, he said, it is true that the burden sharing has not been fairly distributed. That is why Canada and European nations that are part of the alliance are stepping up their donations.
'I would not be surprised if we had robust discussions at the summit, including on defense spending,' he said. 'Different views are common between friends and allies.'
Just how robust they would get, even he did not seem to have imagined. The NATO secretary general was pummeled in his Wednesday morning breakfast by a fired-up Trump.
Trump indicated Tuesday that he was chagrined about the United States' trade relationship with allies that are part of the Brussels-based security organization NATO and intended to make their contributions to its defense fund the focal point of his conversations in Belgium.
Just 16 countries are on track to meet the agreed upon spending obligation of 2 percent GDP, the United States has said, in accordance with a 2014 pact. That's roughly half of NATO's 29 members.
In tweets on Monday, President Trump berated the rest for relying on America for protection while at the same time running massive trade deficits with the U.S.
The president directly linked the trade discrepancies that inspired his heavy tariffs on metal imports to Western security in tweets that contradicted his NATO ambassador's assessment a day prior that the policies should be evaluated separately from one another.
'NATO benefits Europe far more than it does the U.S. By some accounts, the U.S. is paying for 90% of NATO, with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitments,' Trump said. 'On top of this the European Union has a Trade Surplus of $151 Million with the U.S., with big Trade Barriers on U.S. goods. NO!'
The president put trade on the table in talks that begin Wednesday in Brussels with the tweets that he continued to send even after he had departed the U.S. for Belgium.
He put on the table in talks that begin Wednesday in Brussels with the tweets that kicked off a day that was supposed to be focused on his Supreme Court appointment on Monday
Trump has has groused sin'Sce he was a candidate about NATO burden sharing was expected to put new pressure on member nations in Brussels to meet the soft goal of 2 percent GDP for defense spending. The guideline was agreed to by the group years before he took office.
'The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable. While these countries have been increasing their contributions since I took office, they must do much more. Germany is at 1%, the U.S. is at 4%,' Trump harped in a message on Monday.
He has singled out Germany as a violator incessantly. His defense secretary recently put a microscope on spending by the contribution-abiding U.K. in a new twist of the knife, as well.
Trump himself hammered Germany at a Thursday evening rally, in Montana, where he claimed that he told Merkel that he believes Europe is benefited more by the security alliance because of its proximity to Russia than the U.S.
He repeated the charge in tweets on Monday in which he again brought up the EU's trade deficit with the United States.
Hutchison had insisted on 'Fox News Sunday' that trade and security were not related and should not be a subject of NATO talks only to have the boss subtly contradict her in tweets and say that the two issues are one in the same at his presser concluding the summit.
'One thing I will say is that in all of the disagreements that we have seen at the G7 and with allies with whom we are now having trade talks and negotiations and tariffs, that has not come up in the NATO context,' she stated. 'Our diplomats are professional and they are staying on our NATO issues, where we are 100 percent allied.'
An outside view of the NATO building is seen at the NATO's new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The security organization has its annual summit in Belgium this week
She said prior to the summit that Russia's 'malign activities' and a 'rising China' would be the foremost topics.
Trump was constantly the center of attention at the summit, though, with leader after leader facing questions about his meeting with Putin and his defense spending demands.
Germany's defense minister, von der Leyen, said Wednesday on CNBC that Trump is right that Germany needs to increase its defense contribution — and said that it has.
The German official said her country also backs Trump's summit next week with Putin.
'It is good that he talking to President Putin,' she said. 'We have a lot of issues with Russia without question, but it's good to be in a dialogue.'