Trump suggests NATO allies raise target spending to 4 percent

Trump suggests NATO allies raise target spending to 4 percent

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL players stand in tunnel during anthem, extending protests 12 former top intel officials blast Trump's move to revoke Brennan's security clearance NYT: Omarosa believed to have as many as 200 tapes MORE suggested Wednesday that NATO allies should increase their defense spending from 2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) to 4 percent.

"During the President’s remarks today at the NATO summit he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2% of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4%. The President raised this same issue when he was at NATO last year," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

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"President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations," she added.

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev first told a national radio station that Trump had raised the prospect of a heightened spending commitment during a meeting with world leaders at the NATO summit.

“NATO is not a [market] at which one can buy security. But yes, on the other hand, President Trump is right, as each country should build its effective capabilities, and the unwillingness with which Bulgaria spends money on defense is obvious,” Radev said, according to Bloomberg.

NATO members agreed in 2014 to spend at least 2 percent of their respective GDP on defense by 2024.

While Trump has repeatedly argued that other countries don't do enough to pay for defense costs, seven non-U.S. NATO members are meeting or are expected to meet the 2 percent goal this year.

Fifteen members have plans to meet the 2 percent goal by the 2024 deadline.

The U.S. currently spends 3.5 percent of its GDP on defense, according to NATO, which bases its current calculations off the 2010 dollar.

However, Trump asserted earlier Wednesday that the U.S. is really paying 4.2 percent of its GDP based on "actual numbers" that more accurately reflect U.S. spending.

"I think that these countries have to step it up not over a 10-year period; they have to step it up immediately," Trump said during a breakfast with the NATO secretary-general.

Trump has long complained that the U.S. takes on an unfair burden by shouldering a majority of NATO's costs while receiving little benefit. He spent recent days blasting other nations on Twitter for failing to allocate enough money toward defense, setting up a contentious summit.

Trump roiled allies with his first remarks Wednesday morning in Brussels, where he chastised other leaders for not committing enough money toward defense spending. He took particular aim at Germany, as Trump claimed the country was "captive to Russia" because of an oil and gas pipeline deal.

"You know, we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France. We're protecting everybody. And yet we're paying a lot of money to protect," Trump said.