Pres­i­dent re­sponds to re­li­a­bil­ity crit­i­cism


WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump re­sponded Thurs­day to Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk’s crit­i­cism that he’s been an un­re­li­able part­ner, telling re­porters the Euro­pean Union has been “ter­ri­ble” to the U.S. on trade and “they can call me all sorts of names.”

Dur­ing a meet­ing with the leader of NATO, Trump ad­dressed a ques­tion from a reporter about Tusk’s re­cent com­ment that, given the U.S. pres­i­dent’s re­cent de­ci­sions, “some­one could even think, ‘with friends like that, who needs enemies?’”

Tusk tweeted Wed­nes­day that thanks to Trump, “we re­al­ize that if you need a help­ing hand, you will find one at the end of your arm.”

Trump aired his long­stand­ing com­plaints about the U.S. trade deficit with Europe and trade bar­ri­ers for U.S. agri­cul­ture and au­tomak­ers.

“We lost $151 bil­lion deal­ing with the Euro­pean Union. So they can call me all sorts of names, and if I were them I’d call me names also, be­cause it’s not go­ing to hap­pen any longer,” Trump said as he sat next to NATO Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg.

Trump has vexed Euro­peans with his threats to im­pose tar­iffs on EU steel and alu­minum ex­ports and with his de­ci­sion to with­draw from an agree­ment aimed at pre­vent­ing Iran from de­vel­op­ing nu­clear weapons, which the EU has sup­ported as crit­i­cal to se­cu­rity around the globe.

Tusk made his re­marks about the U.S. pres­i­dent’s re­li­a­bil­ity be­fore he chaired a meet­ing in Bul­garia of the 28 lead­ers whose coun­tries make up the world’s big­gest trad­ing bloc.

Trump said he knew both Tusk and Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker very well, telling re­porters, “Say hello to Jean-Claude.”

Look­ing ahead to the an­nual NATO sum­mit, Trump and Stoltenberg dis­cussed their efforts to push NATO coun­tries to in­crease their de­fense spend­ing. Stoltenberg told Trump his lob­by­ing campaign is “re­ally hav­ing an im­pact” on de­fense spend­ing within the al­liance.

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