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Former Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement Wednesday chastising President Donald Trump for his recent behavior surrounding NATO.
On Wednesday morning at a NATO breakfast in Brussels, President Trump boldly claimed that Russia controls Germany. His claim referenced the pipeline deal between the two countries.
He continued by declaring that Germany shouldn't receive NATO's support because of the deal, despite other leaders attempting to explain the importance of the international alliance.
“I've never seen a President say anything as strange or counterproductive as President Trump's harangue against NATO and Germany,” Kerry's statement read. “It was disgraceful, destructive, and flies in the face of the actual interests of the United States of America.”
JUST IN: Former Sec. Kerry: “I’ve never seen a President say anything as strange or counterproductive as President Trump’s harangue against NATO and Germany. It was disgraceful, destructive, and flies in the face of the actual interests of the United States of America." pic.twitter.com/Y0JKGzXVYL
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 11, 2018
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg defended the alliance by pointing out that disagreements are inevitable due to NATO's size.
“You know, NATO is the alliance of 29 nations, there's some disagreements,” Stoltenberg said. “And gas from Russia to Germany is where the allies disagree. Despite the differences, we've always been able to protect and defend each other. We're stronger together than apart. Two World Wars and the Cold War showed we are stronger together than apart.”
What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2018
In addition to the wars, Kerry also mentioned NATO's solidarity with the U.S. after 9/11:
“Why would an American president whose first NATO meeting last year was a disaster, show up in Belgium this year just to prove he doesn't understand how vital alliances have made a huge difference for the security of the United States and the lives of Europeans? I'd think me (sic) might remember that it was NATO that stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States after 9/11, among many contributions.”
Kerry continued by criticizing Trump's method of diplomacy. He referenced former President Barack Obama's influence on NATO members increasing their contributions, which has been a hot topic for Trump recently.
The former secretary of state said Obama accomplished the pledge “without undermining the cohesion of the alliance in the process.”
The statement ended with Kerry suggesting that the president address issues without insulting allies on camera.
“What was on display in Brussels today was not the behavior of a strong, principled, and wise leader,” he said. “Enough. This isn't good for the United States and there are people across the aisle — as the Senate vote yesterday clearly showed — who know it and need to say it.”