Via the Free Beacon, there are people on social media grumbling about this clip, as though it’s rude or impolitic or whatever for him to do this. Are they kidding? This is practically a campaign commercial for Trump. Even I caught a little MAGA buzz watching Macron and the rest of the gang smirk as he nudged them to take their defense obligations more seriously. In particular, telling the EU’s luminaries in Brussels that forcing America to pick up their slack is “not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States” may be the single finest nationalist moment Trump has had as president. All I could imagine watching it was one of those focus-group graphs that the cable news channels like to use during presidential debates to show how the group is reacting to the candidates moment by moment. Trump would have been off the charts, especially when the camera panned to a stone-faced Angela Merkel.
It seems his colleagues didn’t like the lecture. This is probably also worth a few extra job-approval points:
After "family photo" with all NATO leaders, no one approached Trump –kept distance after he had just hectored them on defense spending. pic.twitter.com/gTyB0Fx4UX
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) May 25, 2017
To be scrupulously fair, the smirking from Macron et al. may have been due mainly to what Trump says about countries “owing” NATO for underpayment in the past. That’s not how it works, as America’s own secretary of defense acknowledges. They’re supposed to spend two percent of GDP on their own defense, not as “dues” to NATO or whatever.
Also, leeeetle bit awkward that he used this occasion to deliver the lecture. He was speaking to dedicate two new memorials at NATO HQ, one to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the other to the victims of 9/11 — the one and only time in NATO’s history that Article 5 has been invoked. This was a moment, in other words, to remember when Europe honored its NATO obligations and stood behind the United States. And here he is reminding them to sack up on defense — while not reaffirming America’s own commitment to honoring Article 5.
Ah well. He wasn’t there on vacation, he was there on business. Two clips for you, one of the scolding and the other of, er, what we’ll call “America First.”
Did Trump just shove another NATO leader to be in the front of the group? pic.twitter.com/bL1r2auELd
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) May 25, 2017