Esper says Trump was ‘right’ to push Germany to spend more on defense, press for end of Nord Stream 2

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Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in an interview on Wednesday that former President Trump was “right” in pressing Germany on matters like increasing their defense spending and ending the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

“He was right,” Esper said to Fox News’s Martha MacCullum when asked about Trump’s past meeting with then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel when the issues came up. 

“Germany was the weak link in the alliance. He was right to press them to spend more, to live up to their commitments, to spend 2 percent of their [gross domestic product] on defense. He was right to press him to end Nord Stream 2,” Esper asserted of Trump.

“These were all important points that the president pressed them on,” Esper also said. ”While I think he was right to do that, I don’t think he was right to suggest that we would withdraw from the alliance. But on those points, it was spot on.”

The former Defense secretary did note that Germany has since improved in managing its defense. 

“Germany has made a turnaround,” he added of the country’s status now. “They’ve realized that their policy for so many years was incorrect. They’re now coming to spend more money. I hope they will continue to do that.”

Earlier this year, current German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stopped the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline just days before the invasion after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent.

The pipeline was intended to double the gas flow from Russia to Germany. 

Even before the invasion, officials in Ukraine and the U.S. voiced concern about the potential for the pipeline increasing Europe’s energy reliance on Moscow and making Ukraine more susceptible to a Russian attack.

Tags Angela Merkel Mark Esper Olaf Scholz Vladimir Putin

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