From: Jerome CARTILLIER
Date: December 3, 2019 at 5:02:32 PM GMT
Subject: Travel pool report #10d - More POTUS quotes on NATO “delinquent” countries
More POTUS quotes from the Trudeau bilat, thanks to co-pooler Philip Rucker from the Washington Post.
Q: Are you happy with Canadian defense spending as it is right now?
POTUS: “They’re moving up and they’re moving up substantially and they’re starting to do very well economically and that has something to do with it....
“They have been under the 2 percent, obviously, but they’re moving up.”
Q: Where would you put Canada in terms of being delinquent in NATO spending?
POTUS: “Slightly delinquent, I’d say, Canada, but they’ll be okay. I have confidence. They’re slightly delinquent. Some are major delinquent. Some are way below 1 percent and that’s unacceptable, and then if something happens we’re supposed to protect them and it’s not really fair and it never has been fair. They’re paying up. We are talking to Germany tomorrow and they’re starting to come along. They have to. They have to. Otherwise if they don’t want to I’ll have to do something with respect to trade.”
Q: If there’s a country that’s delinquent would you commit as president to defend them if they were attacked?
POTUS: “You know, I’m going to be discussing that today, and it’s a very interesting question, isn’t it. It also depends on what your definition of delinquent is. For instance, if you have a country that’s paying only 1 percent. If you have some that are paying less than 1 percent and they’re wealthy countries on top of everything, now we go to a new year and they don’t pay, and now we go to yet another year and they don’t pay. Now, I ask you, do they have to pay for the back years? Okay?”
Q: Point of clarification: Does your comment about delinquent countries signal you’re wavering on Article 5?
POTUS: “It’s just that when a country is delinquent they don’t pay and then something happens. Now, usually we look at it as a group, and I think I have to look at it as a group, so I will look at it as a group. But I think it’s very unfair when a country doesn’t pay so most likely I‘d do something with respect to trade. But that’s one of the things we’ll be discussing today. I have to look at it as a group. You can’t say, well, gee, this country sitting right there in the middle is delinquent, they’re not paid, and something happens to that country. I think it’s an unlikely circumstance. But I would do something having to do with trade.”
AFP White House Correspondent
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