President Trump criticised wealthy northern European state Denmark for its insufficient support of the NATO alliance in comments that follow a war of words over the nation’s mocking dismissal of the President’s interest in Greenland.
The criticism of Denmark’s low military spending — a broken commitment of the European nation reaffirmed as recently as 2014 — came in a series of messages in which President Trump contrasted Denmark’s poor performance with the United States and other European partners. President Trump also broadcast the latest NATO spending figures, showing a host of new nations now paying their share of the expensive of collective defence for the first time.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2019
President Trump wrote: “For the record, Denmark is only at 1.35% of GDP for NATO spending. They are a wealthy country and should be at 2%. We protect Europe and yet, only 8 of the 28 NATO countries are at the 2% mark. The United States is at a much, much higher level than that.”
Fighting to improve the NATO defensive alliance by encouraging all member states to meet their obligations has been a key issue of the Trump Presidency.
President Trump was widely criticised for raising the issue of NATO member states for relying on the U.S. military for collective defence while refusing to contribute themselves, with leaders and media figures accusing him of weakening the alliance with his comments. After Trump’s concerns appeared to have its intended effect, with several NATO members reaffirming their faith in the alliance and boosting their contributions, leaders including NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg and even Britain’s Theresa May hailed Trump for his positive impact.
Denmark reacted defensively to President Trump pointing out their failure to contribute to the common defence which they benefit from on Thursday, with former Prime Minister Loekke Rasmussen writing in response: “We will not accept that our defense willingness is only about percentages… I told you at the NATO Summit in Brussels last year.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 8, 2016
Trump’s comments followed a spat with the Danish government, which came after the President floated the idea of buying Greenland, a largely uninhabited large island in the North Atlantic from the country. The Danish government reacted with ridicule, however, in a way which the President characterised as rude to the point of being “nasty” and “inappropriate”.
Trump reacted to the rebuttal by cancelling a planned meeting with the Danish government, sardonically praising the Danish government for having saved him the time of the trip by making their attitude towards him known in advance. The President wrote earlier this week: “based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct.”