Trump Criticizes Macron’s ‘Nasty Statement’ as Leaders Gather for NATO Summit

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized French President Emmanuel Macron for his recent statement describing NATO as experiencing “brain death,” saying the French leader’s comment was a “nasty statement.”Speaking alongside NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as leaders of member nations gathered for a summit in London, Trump said, “You just can’t go around making statements like that about NATO.”Macron’s comments came in an interview with London-based magazine The Economist published last month.  He has since defended his words, saying NATO “needed a wake-up call” and should be focused on issues other than the amount of money each member spends on its military.NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gestures during his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at Winfield House in London, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019.Trump and Macron are due to meet Tuesday.Defense spending has been a focus for Trump since he took office in 2017 and complained the United States was taking on an outsized financial burden.Stoltenberg praised Trump on Tuesday, saying his leadership on the issue is “having a real impact.” He cited a $130 billion rise in defense budgets among the non-U.S. NATO members and said that would go to $400 billion by 2024.In addition to budget discussions, Stoltenberg said leaders would be talking about counterterrorism efforts, arms control, relations with Russia and the rise of China.The summit comes as Trump faces an impeachment investigation back home.  He repeated his criticism Tuesday of Democrats who control the House of Representatives, saying it is unfair to hold hearings while he is attending the summit.But when asked if the proceedings weaken his position as he meets with other leaders, Trump said, “I don’t think so.”

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