Trump says he can't say if Putin is friend or foe

Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump review French tanks during the Bastille Day military parade in Paris on July 14 2017

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcConnell to meet with Trump's Supreme Court pick Tuesday Kavanaugh offers lengthy judicial record ahead of bitter confirmation fight Hundreds protest Kavanaugh's nomination outside Supreme Court MORE on Tuesday would not say if he views Russian President Vladimir Putin as a friend or foe, instead labeling him a "competitor" on the world stage.

"By some accounts, the U.S.is paying for 90% of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitment", Trump claimed Monday in a Twitter posting. "And dear Europe, spend more on your defense because everyone expects an ally that is well prepared and equipped", he added, noting: "Money is important, but genuine solidarity should be more important". "This is not fair, nor is it acceptable", Trump tweeted Monday morning, previewing his message in Brussels. However, many members pitch in far less than that figure, while the USA puts in more than 3 percent of its GDP.

Trump fully supports the concept that the European allies need to increase defense spending to the 2% of GDP goal. USA officials said the two sides this time would be discussing Russian election meddling, Russia's incursions in the Ukraine and involvement in Syria.

The European council president, Donald Tusk, said: "Dear America, appreciate your allies".

"I said, 'You know, Angela, I can't guarantee it, but we're protecting you, '" Trump said, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at a Montana rally on July 5.

More news: Erdogan flexes his new muscle with a cabinet of arch-loyalists

The U.S. has been seeking an increased commitment by alliance members to increase defense spending.

Mr. Trump, who has compared the Brexit vote to leave the European Union to his own election, will be making his maiden presidential trip to Britain at a fraught time for May.

According to an internal European Union memo obtained by Bloomberg and using BEA figures, when including trade in goods, trade in services and primary income from investments, the US has a 12 billion-euro surplus with the EU. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all who would think? In March he criticised the USA president's claim that "trade wars are good and easy to win", countering that "they are bad and easy to lose".

Trump's weeklong trip to Europe will continue with a stop in Scotland before ending with a sit-down in Helsinki with Putin, whose country the US intelligence community has concluded interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump win. Trump also told reporters last week that he would press the Russian president on election meddling and also discuss Syria and Ukraine during their meeting. He also let USA defense spending fall.

"Getting ready to leave for Europe. Change is Coming!" Trump said on Twitter in June in posts that specifically called out Germany.

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