Trump Today: Trump Today: President says there’s no need to exit NATO after spending commitments

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump leave the U.S. ambassador’s residence, Winfield House, where they are staying, on their way to Blenheim Palace for dinner with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and business leaders.

A day after an unprecedented attack on a key NATO member, President Donald Trump on Thursday said there was no need for the U.S. to leave the organization due to pledges to increase funding commitments.

‘UNNECESSARY’ TO LEAVE NATO

Trump answered reporters’ questions at the end of the two-day meeting in Brussels before heading to Britain. Trump admitted that getting countries to allocate 4% of GDP to defense spending, which he called for on Wednesday, is the next goal.

“Some are at 2%; others have agreed definitely to go to 2%. And some are going back to get the approval, and which they will get, to go to 2%. After the 2%, we’ll start talking about going higher. But I said, ultimately we should be, in years — in advance — we should be at 4%. I think 4%, it’s the right number,” Trump said. Trump is referring to the target, agreed to before he entered office, for NATO members to achieve defense spending equal to at least 2% of their GDP by 2024.

Trump again repeated the claim that U.S. defense spending was 4.2% of GDP; his own Office of Management and Budget says it’s 3.2%.

When asked if he can quit NATO without Congress’s permission, Trump replied: “I think I probably can, but that’s unnecessary.”

He defended his salvo against Germany, though he didn’t accept a reporter’s characterization that he had insulted the country’s sovereignty by saying it was controlled by Russia.

“Yeah, I think it’s a very effective way to deal, but I didn’t deal exactly the way you said. I have great respect for Germany. My father is from Germany. Both of my parents are from the EU, despite the fact they don’t treat us well on trade,” Trump said. His father Fred was born in The Bronx, which is located in the United States; his mother, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump, was born in Scotland.

Opinion: ‘Trump Doctrine’ pressures U.S. trading partners, reduces military risks — and ignores world opinion

Also read: This hated energy source is needed to help limit environmental damage from oil, coal and gas

KIM JONG UN LETTER

Trump tweeted out a letter he received from North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, calling the letter “a very nice note.”

Trump’s release of the letter comes amid reports that North Korea has not taken steps to denuclearize following the summit in Singapore. The letter said that North Korea deeply appreciates “the energetic and extraordinary” efforts made by Trump, that there will be a “future process of taking practical actions,” and that there will be a next meeting.

Also read: Ryan decries tariffs, says U.S. may be left behind

NEW AIDE

Trump announced Shahira Knight will replace Marc Short as director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. The move, which was anticipated, comes as Short is set to join a D.C. consulting firm and teach at the University of Virginia. Knight is currently deputy director of the National Economic Council, where she was involved in drafting the tax-cut legislation.

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