When the crowd in Pennsylvania booed Kim’s name, Trump intervened, asking them to “be very nice.” But Trump savages Kim’s neighbors, South Korea and Japan, whom Trump regards as our economic rivals, not our military allies. “We lose on trade, plus we give them military [support] where we’re subsidizing them tremendously,” Trump complained on Tuesday, referring to these and other allies. The next day, Trump sneered: “Many of the countries that treat us the worst on trade, and on military, are our ‘allies,’ as they like to call them.”Trump saves his harshest invective for Europe. Last week, he threatened the European Union with “a big tax of 25 percent on their cars.” At Saturday’s rally, he all but declared a trade war on the E.U. “Why did they band together? To screw the United States on trade,” Trump told the crowd. “Here it would be called a monopoly. It wouldn’t be allowed,” he said. He vowed to target German companies if he doesn’t get the trade concessions he wants: “We’re going to tax Mercedes-Benz. We’re going to tax BMW.” As for NATO, Trump shrugged last week that the U.S. contribution “helps [Europe] a lot more than it helps us.”
U.S. allies seeking to avoid the steel and aluminum tariffs approved by President Donald Trump might be asked to step up their financial commitments to NATO.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC in a Friday interview that the president will consider national security, noting that Trump wants to be sure that NATO gets more funding from European allies whom Trump has previously criticized for not contributing enough.
“If we’re in NATO, he wants to make sure that NATO gets more money so that NATO can protect all of us and fulfill its goal,” Mnuchin said, underscoring Trump’s push to get NATO allies to pay 2 percent on defense. …
Other countries seeking exemptions from the tariffs will have to make their case through U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, but the president will make the ultimate decision, a senior administration official told reporters Thursday.
Spoke to PM @TurnbullMalcolm of Australia. He is committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship. Working very quickly on a security agreement so we don’t have to impose steel or aluminum tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2018