NATO officials try to convince themselves summit was a success, liken Trump to 'old uncle' who went 'nuts'

NATO summit opening ceremony.
(Image credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump's attendance at the NATO summit in Brussels wasn't exactly smooth sailing, but it went about as well as European leaders had hoped given their concerns, officials told Axios on Thursday.

Perhaps the disastrous G7 summit had NATO allies expecting more aggressive conflict with the U.S. leader, making it a relief when Trump merely badmouthed the treaty agreement, criticized Germany, and falsely claimed that everyone had promised to up their defense spending. One senior European official said that NATO members didn't take Trump completely seriously when he began talking about increased spending.

"It was more a rant '2 percent immediately' than a formal demand ... there was no clear threat of withdrawal," the official told Axios. "Usual Trump: a stream of incoherent sentences. ... The allies looked the other way as when the old uncle gets nuts."

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Ol' Uncle Trump certainly rubbed some allies the wrong way, but they're reportedly just glad he hasn't withdrawn from the entire agreement. Despite the president's attacks on European allies, officials are willing to weather the storm if it means NATO is still safely intact. The summit was "the best it could be considering the person [Trump]," said the official. Read more at Axios.

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