President Donald Trump’s most recent attack on an American ally drew rebuke from Democratic leadership Wednesday, with claims that Trump is “more loyal” to Russia than U.S. NATO allies.
In a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump insisted Germany is “totally controlled by Russia” due to its degree of energy dependence on Russian resources.
“President Trump’s brazen insults and denigration of one of America’s most steadfast allies, Germany, is an embarrassment,” read a statement from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “His behavior this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the President is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies.”
“If the President leaves the meeting without ironclad assurances and concrete steps toward a full cessation of Russian attacks on our democracy, this meeting will not only be a failure—it will be a grave step backward for the future of the international order and global security,” Schumer and Pelosi said. “A successful meeting means real action, now.
“The president needs to remember that, as Commander-in-Chief, his duty is to protect the American people from foreign threats, not to sell out our democracy to Putin.”
Heading into his European trip, Trump said he thought his meeting with Putin “may be the easiest”, compared to talks with NATO allies.
But for Germany, Trump had strong words, attacking the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel:
"Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting from 60 percent to 70 percent of their energy from Russia, and a new pipeline, and you tell me if that's appropriate because I think it's not and I think it's a very bad thing for Nato,” Trump said, adding that “Germany is a captive of Russia.”
Merkel issued an immediate and admonishing response:
“I want to say that I have experience of when a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union,” Merkel, who grew up in Soviet-controlled East Germany, said.
As he often does after assailing an American ally, Trump later insisted the U.S. has "a tremendous relationship with Germany" after a one-on-one meeting with the chancellor.