Ryan says 'NATO is indispensable' as Trump attacks defense spending

Ryan says 'NATO is indispensable' as Trump attacks defense spending
© Greg Nash

Hours after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE attacked NATO allies in Belgium, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign Blue wave poses governing risks for Dems Dems seek to rebuild blue wall in Rust Belt contests MORE on Wednesday called the long-standing alliance “indispensable.”

But the Wisconsin Republican added that he shared Trump’s concerns that NATO allies were not contributing their fair share on defense, and over Germany’s gas pipeline deal with Russia known as Nord Stream 2.

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“I subscribe to the view that we should not be criticizing our president while he’s overseas,” Ryan began when asked about Trump’s harsh remarks that NATO allies are “delinquent” in paying for defense.

“NATO is indispensable. It is as important today as it ever has been,” Ryan continued, noting that the House will hold a voice vote on a resolution later in the day expressing support for NATO allies.

In a meeting with NATO allies, part of which was televised, Trump complained bitterly about Germany, calling the NATO ally “captive to Russia” due to the pipeline deal.

"I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia," Trump said.

The president also repeated complaints he's voiced in the past about NATO members not living up to their spending obligations.

“With respect to Nord Stream 2, we’ve been bringing that up with our allies as well. … Every time I’ve met with our allies in Europe I’ve raised these same concerns about Nord Steam 2,” Ryan told reporters. “The president is right to point out that our NATO allies need to adhere to their commitments,” which is paying 2 percent of their gross domestic product for NATO defense.

“Germany is the largest economy in the [European Union],” Ryan said. “Germany should be committing 2 percent to defense like they agreed to in the Wales conference.”