In Brussels, where President Donald Trump made a stop for a North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting, the president's well-known erratic attitude didn't fail to make an appearance.
Prior to the event, the stakes were high. After all, the president ran on a platform that oftentimes relied on the occasional NATO bashing, going as far as calling the organization “obsolete.” But once the president addressed NATO leaders Thursday, his brutish demeanor was, once again, on display.
The look on their faces said it all, as many leaders in attendance either chuckled or looked at one another in disbelief.
France's Macron, Belgium's Michel and Luxembourg's Bettel listening to Trump's NATO speech. pic.twitter.com/NG6SVs1uoF— Elias Gideon (@eligdeon) May 25, 2017
Others, like Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, simply remained calm and collected. Perhaps she can stay reserved because she has become well-acquainted with Trump's explosive comments.
"This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States," Trump told NATO leaders, which included France's newly-elected President Emmanuel Macron and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. "If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, then NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism."
As CNN pointed out, Trump's comments may stem from a lack of familiarity with the organization's rules.
During his brief speech, the president claimed that allies “owe massive amounts of money from past years,” mentioning a 2 percent spending benchmark that he believes wasn't met. Still, the quota is designed to push countries to boost their own military, instead of funneling this extra revenue into NATO's coffers.
Perhaps, that's what made so many NATO leaders chuckle and whisper to one another as Trump closed his remarks. Was he just making a fool of himself, or was he genuinely concerned about other countries not doing as much as the United States? By the look of other world leaders, the answer might be the former.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters