President Donald Trump has decided to leave a NATO summit early on Wednesday after a dispute with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in which he called the prime minister “two-faced.”
Trump said in a series of tweets that he would finish meeting with countries that had meet their commitments to NATO spending contributions, but would not stick around for a closing NATO press conference. Despite the apparent fall out with Trudeau, Trump characterized the NATO meetings as making progress.
….When today’s meetings are over, I will be heading back to Washington. We won’t be doing a press conference at the close of NATO because we did so many over the past two days. Safe travels to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2019
Trump reacted to jokes made by Trudeau in a Tuesday night video clip, calling the Canadian leader “two-faced” over Trudeau’s remarks. According to The Independent, Trudeau joked about a tense press conference between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron.
CBC captured the exchange during a Buckingham Palace reception for the NATO members on Tuesday.
.@JustinTrudeau, @EmmanuelMacron, @BorisJohnson and other VIPs shared a few words at a Buckingham Palace reception Tuesday. No one mentions @realDonaldTrump by name, but they seem to be discussing his lengthy impromptu press conferences from earlier in the day. (Video: Host Pool) pic.twitter.com/dVgj48rpOP
— Power & Politics (@PnPCBC) December 3, 2019
“I called him out on the fact he’s not paying 2 percent, and I guess he’s not very happy about it,” Trump said of Trudeau. “He’s not paying 2 percent and he should be paying 2 percent. It’s Canada, they have money and they should be paying 2 percent, so I called him out on that and I’m sure he wasn’t happy about it but that’s the way it is.”
Trump said he planned to meet with Danish leaders in the afternoon on Wednesday and then leave the NATO summit after that. Trump later appeared to cancel that meeting and a conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Since taking office, Trump has been emphatic about other NATO members meeting their spending commitments to the alliance. In February of 2017, then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned that all NATO allies would need to step up their commitments to the organization or see the U.S. moderate its own involvement.
In August of this year, the U.S. threatened to withdraw troops from Germany if the NATO-ally did not provide more support for NATO.
Ahead of the summit, Macron called NATO “brain dead” and suggested the alliance shift its focus away from potential conflict with Russia and China and towards combating terrorism.
Trump said Macron was being “nasty” in his prior NATO remarks and called the comments insulting to the other 28 countries comprising the organization.