Trump to host NATO chief at White House

The head of NATO will meet with President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE at the White House next week as the alliance celebrates its 70th anniversary.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will meet with Trump on April 2 for a private conversation, followed by an expanded meeting, the White House said Tuesday. The two men will discuss burden sharing and challenges facing the organization.

"In honor of the 70th anniversary of NATO, the President and the Secretary General will underscore the importance of the Alliance as a bulwark of international peace and security," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.


Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden coronavirus relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority Some Republicans say proxy voting gives advantage to Democrats Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (R-Ky.) invited Stoltenberg to address a joint session of Congress on April 3. NATO will celebrate its 70th anniversary on April 4.

The president has been openly critical of NATO, arguing that the U.S. contributes a disproportionate amount to help the alliance compared to other member nations. Members do not pay into NATO but contribute toward defense spending in their respective budgets.

Stoltenberg said in January that Trump's criticism of other NATO members was "having an impact."

"NATO allies have heard the president loud and clear, and now NATO allies are stepping up," he said.

Member nations agreed in 2014 to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic products on defense by 2024. Only a handful of the alliance’s 29 countries have already met that target.

The New York Times reported earlier this year that Trump privately indicated multiple times in 2018 that he wanted the U.S. to withdraw from the NATO alliance. The White House dismissed the report, citing the president's past statements that the U.S. has a "strong" commitment to NATO.

Stoltenberg will be the latest world leader to meet with Trump at the White House in recent weeks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited with the president on Monday, and Trump hosted Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro earlier this month. During the latter's visit, Trump said he would designate Brazil as a major non-NATO ally and raised the possibility that the South American nation could eventually join the NATO alliance.