While on his trip to the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday, President Trump wasted no time in slamming member counties for not paying enough for their self-defense. The president also targeted criticism at Germany for climbing in bed with Russia, the enemy of the alliance, to satiate its energy needs. Of course, the liberal media were shrieking like banshees and on ABC’s World News Tonight, they touted the German Chancellor for taking the “high road” with her response.
“And we begin with President Trump on the attack,” announced sensationalist anchor David Muir at the start of the program. “The fight beginning at breakfast today, sitting across from America’s most trusted allies at the NATO summit.” He then proceeded to take Trump quotes completely out of context, saying, “At one point today, the President asking, ‘What good is NATO?’ And saying Germany is ‘captive to Russia.’”
As if it was something to be embarrassed about, chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran huffed about Trump confronting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about Germany’s energy commitments. “President Trump came here spoiling for a fight. And it began immediately with a tirade over breakfast with NATO’s secretary general, aimed at one of America’s closest allies,” he bemoaned.
Moran explained that “[t]he President [was] furious about a recent $12 billion gas pipeline deal Germany signed with the Kremlin.” Being a little snarky, he pointed out how Trump was causing other U.S. officials to “squirm” as “NATO’s chief tried to defuse the moment.”
While Stoltenberg spoke in platitudes about togetherness, President Trump wondered: “[H]ow can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the person you want protection against or from the group that you want protection against?” “[Y]ou’re just making Russia richer,” he added
“An astonishingly harsh attack,” Moran proclaimed. “[B]ut when German Chancellor Angela Merkel showed up, she took the high road.” He touted how the Chancellor gave “a simple reminder that she grew up in communist East Germany under Soviet domination, and that a united Germany today controls its own destiny.”
Moran didn’t seem to have asked himself the obvious question: Since Chancellor Merkel grew up under Soviet oppression, then why buy energy from the Russian president who was a former KGB agent?
As the video portion of Moran’s segment was ending, he quipped about how “they all tried to make it look like an ordinary NATO summit. The class photo. And all the friendly-seeming banter.” He noted how First Lady Melania Trump and Merkel over conversing over a wine. “But however good the vintage, the mood at this summit is sour,” he chided.
It wasn’t until close to the end of the nearly four-minute-long segment that Muir reported that President Trump did, in fact, sign “the traditional NATO declaration of solidarity”. As if it was some sort of rebuke, Moran added that both the House and the Senate passed resolutions praising the alliance.
“But all that is just paper,” Moran direly warned. “The presidency is power, especially in foreign policy. So, if President Trump wants to radically change America’s relationship with NATO, or even take us out of the alliance, that’s what’s going to happen.”
The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:
World News Tonight
July 11, 2018
6:31:52 PM Eastern [3 minutes 51 seconds]
DAVID MUIR: Good evening. And it’s great to have you with us here on a very busy Wednesday night. And we begin with President Trump on the attack. The fight beginning at breakfast today, sitting across from America’s most trusted allies at the NATO summit. At one point today, the President asking, “What good is NATO?” And saying Germany is “captive to Russia.” Tonight, the President’s new demands now from our allies, and you’re about to hear that very tense exchange between the head of NARO and the president. ABC’s chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran leading us off from Brussels tonight.
[Cuts to video]
TERRY MORAN: President Trump came here spoiling for a fight. And it began immediately with a tirade over breakfast with NATO’s secretary-general, aimed at one of America’s closest allies.
DONALD TRUMP: Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia, because it’s getting so much of its energy from Russia. So, we’re supposed to protect Germany, but they’re getting their energy from Russia. Explain that. And it can’t be explained, you know that.
MORAN: The President furious about a recent $12 billion gas pipeline deal Germany signed with the Kremlin. While top U.S. officials sat there squirming, NATO’s chief tried to defuse the moment.
JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO secretary general]: I think that two World Wars and the Cold War told us that we are stronger together than apart.
TRUMP: But how can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the person you want protection against or from the group that you want protection against?
STOLTENBERG: Because we understand when we stand together, also when dealing with Russia, we are stronger. I think what we have seen —
TRUMP: No, you’re just making Russia richer.
MORAN: An astonishingly harsh attack, but when German Chancellor Angela Merkel showed up, she took the high road.
[Chancellor Angel Merkel speaking in German]
Offering a simple reminder that she grew up in communist East Germany under Soviet domination, and that a united Germany today controls its own destiny. President Trump’s main complaint here, the allies aren’t paying enough for their own protection. Many U.S. presidents have felt the same way, but Trump is demanding allies double their commitment to defense spending immediately. Still, it was all smiles when he met with Merkel.
TRUMP: We have a very, very good relationship with the Chancellor. We have a tremendous relationship with Germany.
MORAN: But not long after, a Trump tweet, the final word attacking Germany again and NATO itself. “What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection.” With French President Emmanuel Macron, who’s got a buddy relationship with Trump, it was a very different scene.
MORAN: Afterwards, they all tried to make it look like an ordinary NATO summit. The class photo. And all the friendly-seeming banter. First Lady Melania Trump even chatting with Merkel over wine. But however good the vintage, the mood at this summit is sour.
[Cuts back to live]
MUIR: So, let’s bring in Terry Moran tonight, live from Brussels. And Terry, after the very public fighting words today, President Trump did eventually then sign the traditional NATO declaration of solidarity, affirming, quote, that “the enduring and unbreakable transatlantic bond between Europe and North America to stand together against threats and challenges from any direction” will, of course, continue.
And back here at home Terry as the tension was playing out on the world stage, Congress made it crystal clear where they stand.
MORAN: That’s right, David. The Senate yesterday, the House today, passing an overwhelmingly bipartisan resolution supporting NATO. The Senate calling it a community of freedom, peace, security and shared values. But all that is just paper. The presidency is power, especially in foreign policy. So, if President Trump wants to radically change America’s relationship with NATO, or even take us out of the alliance, that’s what’s going to happen.
MUIR: No matter what the vintage of wine, as you pointed there at the end of your report. Terry, thank you.