President Donald Trump appeared to muscle past — or shove — Montenegro Prime Minister Duško Markovic at a public appearance during the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday.
A closer view suggested that Markovic might have been pushing Trump to the front at the same time.
However, the Internet had pronounced its verdict.
As with almost everything having to do with Trump, liberal observers were aghast, seeing Trump’s move as similar to the alleged “body slam” of a journalist by a Republican congressional candidate in Montana the day before.
Conservatives, however, generally applauded Trump’s “America first” gesture.
The move appeared to jibe with Trump’s speech earlier in the day at an unveiling of a memorial to the victims of the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Trump said (as prepared for delivery):
…I have been very, very direct with Secretary Stoltenberg and members of the Alliance in saying that NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations, for 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense.
This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States. And many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years. Over the last eight years, the United States spent more on defense than all other NATO countries combined. If all NATO members had spent just 2 percent of their GDP on defense last year, we would have had another $119 billion for our collective defense and for the financing of additional NATO reserves.
We should recognize that with these chronic underpayments and growing threats, even 2 percent of GDP is insufficient to close the gaps in modernizing, readiness, and the size of forces. We have to make up for the many years lost.
Montenegro is the newest member of NATO, after President Trump backed its acceptance into the organization earlier this year.
That move was seen as a challenge to Russia — which did not temper Democrat and media speculation about possible collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign in 2016.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.