The Latest: Trump defends himself against European criticism

May 17, 2018
President Donald Trump meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, May 17, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s meeting with the NATO secretary-general (all times local):

4 p.m.

President Donald Trump has responded to European Council President Donald Tusk’s criticism of him as an unreliable partner.

Tusk tweeted Wednesday that thanks to Trump, “we realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm.”

Trump complained Thursday during a White House appearance with NATO’s leader that the European Union has been “terrible” to the U.S. on trade and had racked up a $151 billion trade deficit last year. Trump says, “They can call me all sorts of names, and if I were them I would call me names also, because it’s not going to happen any longer.”

Trump says he knows both Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker very well.


2:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is pointing to his work to push NATO countries to increase their defense spending as he meets at the White House with the NATO leader.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (yehnz STOHL’-tehn-burg) says Trump’s work is “really having an impact” on defense spending within the alliance.

Trump is asking Stoltenberg whether he’ll give him “credit for that.” The NATO leader says his leadership has been important.

The discussions are expected to focus on Trump’s push to get fellow NATO leaders to increase their military spending along with troop training efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

NATO leaders will meet in Brussels in July.

Trump has pressured NATO members to bolster their military budgets to meet a benchmark of 2 percent of their GDP on defense annually.


12:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump is meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (yehnz STOHL’-tehn-burg) at the White House, but the two leaders aren’t expected to hold a joint news conference.

A new conference Thursday wasn’t announced by the White House. NATO had publicized plans for one but cautioned the schedule was subject to change.

The White House isn’t immediately responding to requests for comment.

The meeting comes on the anniversary of the start of the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

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