French president Emmanuel Macron on Thursday denied President Trump’s claim that members agreed to boost defense spending above their current agreement of 2 percent of their gross domestic product.
“There is a communique that was published yesterday. It’s very detailed,” Macron told reporters at the NATO summit in Brussels. “It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024. That’s all.”
The French president also denied reports that Trump threatened to pull out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization over his gripe that its members do not spend enough on defense.
“President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO,” Macron said.
At a press conference on Thursday, Trump said he is “extremely unhappy with what was happening and they have substantially upped their commitment.” He insisted that he “believes in NATO” and the U.S. commitment to it “remains very strong.”
The conference came after NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg called a chaotic emergency meeting of the alliance’s 29 members on Thursday amid rumors that Trump had threatened to abandon the organization.
Trump kicked off the summit on Wednesday by dressing down the alliance’s secretary-general in front of reporters at a breakfast photo op, complaining about the low levels of defense spending among NATO members.
He singled out Germany for particular criticism, saying the country is “captive to Russia” because of Nord Stream 2, an $11 billion pipeline deal between a Russian energy giant and Germany.
The president suggested allies up their defense spending from the 2 percent goal to 4 percent.
“We have a very powerful, very strong NATO, much stronger than it was two days ago,” Trump concluded. “It all came together at the end. It was a little tough for a little while.”