President Trump landed in Brussels on Tuesday night for a seven-day trip to Europe, starting with a fraught NATO summit on Wednesday and Thursday. Before taking off, Trump tweeted that NATO was bilking the U.S., implicitly undermined struggling British Prime Minister Theresa May, and at his first NATO event on Wednesday morning, he singled out German Chancellor Angela Merkel over defense spending. "Germany, as far as I'm concerned, is captive to Russia because it's getting so much of its energy from Russia," Trump told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg over breakfast. "So we're supposed to protect Germany when they're getting their energy from Russia? Explain that."
President Donald Trump has accused fellow NATO ally Germany of being beholden to Russia because it buys energy from Moscow, in pointed remarks ahead of a summit of the military alliance in Brussels: https://t.co/JmQzGZF8B0 pic.twitter.com/c74lUoy7LZ
— CNN International (@cnni) July 11, 2018
After Brussels, Trump heads to England for a pomp-filled visit, Scotland for a golfing respite, and then a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. Trump has criticized just about every NATO ally, but has rarely if ever criticized Putin — "Frankly, Putin may be the easiest [meeting] of them all," Trump said before embarking — and there is widespread concern on both sides of the Atlantic that Trump will say or do things to undermine the U.S.-Europe alliance. Driving a wedge between Europe and the U.S. is believed to be one of Putin's key priorities. Peter Weber