Trump tried to take credit for an agreement that already existed, and French president Emmanuel Macron immediately called him out for lying.
Having concocted a NATO crisis during the alliance's annual meeting this week, Trump announced that he had magically solved a problem he himself created.
He's lying, of course.
On Wednesday, Trump berated America's longtime allies by insisting the U.S. has been "taken advantage of" by other members of the NATO alliance because they spend less than the U.S. does on military defense.
Then during an unscheduled press conference on Thursday in Brussels, Belgium, Trump took an unearned victory lap, announcing that NATO partners had suddenly agreed to increase their defense spending.
"Everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment," Trump claimed. "They're going to up it at levels that they never thought of before."
But they have done no such thing. And soon after Trump's charade of a press conference, French president Emmanuel Macron quickly called Trump out on his fabrication.
"There is a communique that was published yesterday. It’s very detailed," Macron said. "It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024. That’s all."
Trump took credit for U.S. allies reaffirming a commitment they had already made in 2014, and lied that he forced them to commit more than they already had.
Defense spending by NATO allies has been an issue of intense negotiations for years, since an attack on one NATO country is considered an attack on all. NATO has no defense budget of its own, but member states are expected to spend enough to defend themselves.
NATO allies agreed in 2014 that they would aim to increase their own defense spending as their economies grow, with the goal of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense by 2024.
But that's not enough for Trump. He has long insisted that all NATO states should be spending 2 percent of their GDP now, not in 2024 as was agreed — and that anything less means they are "delinquent" on an imaginary debt.
Trump is lying about how NATO defense spending works, and he's lying about what our allies are doing in response to his threats.
The idea that NATO member states would, within a matter of hours of Trump's demands in Brussels, tear up the previous agreement and immediately consent to new payments is completely absurd.
The whole charade is reminiscent of when Trump left his photo-op summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and quickly claimed that he had miraculously denuclearized America's longtime foe.
Instead, North Korea is brazenly pushing ahead with its nuclear plans.
Trump can't solve real problems. So he's reduced to lying about fixing crises that he himself manufactures.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.