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Trump lands in Europe, says Putin ‘easiest’ of his meetings
BRUSSELS » With Europe’s wary eyes upon him, President Donald Trump launched a weeklong trip there on Tuesday with harsh criticism for NATO allies and predicted the “easiest” leg of his journey would be his scheduled sitdown with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
As he departed the White House for a four-nation European tour, Trump did little to reassure allies fretting over the risk of damage he could do to the 69-year-old trans-Atlantic mutual defense pact and his potential embrace of Putin during a summit in Helsinki.
Trump said Tuesday he “can’t say right now” if Putin is a friend or foe, but called him a “competitor.”
Trump arrived in Brussels on the eve of the NATO summit after repeated attacks on the pact. He told reporters in Washington before leaving that “Frankly, it helps them a lot more than it helps us” and then later tweeted from Air Force One that he may demand reimbursements from the European member nations.