Kerry condemns Trump's 'strange' and 'disgraceful' rhetoric at NATO

Kerry condemns Trump's 'strange' and 'disgraceful' rhetoric at NATO
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Former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryOvernight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate John Kerry calls out lack of climate questions at debate Democrats' debate divisions open the race to new (or old) faces MORE slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE on Wednesday over the president's comments hammering allies about their contributions to NATO at the group's annual summit.

Kerry, the United States' top diplomat for President Obama's second term, issued a blistering statement on Twitter condemning Trump's remarks to NATO members at the summit in Brussels, Belgium, calling them "strange" and "counterproductive."

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"I've never seen a president say anything as strange or counterproductive as President Trump's harangue against NATO and Germany. It was disgraceful, destructive, and flies in the face of actual American interests," Kerry said.

"Why would an American president whose first NATO meeting last year was a disaster, show up in Belgium this year just to prove he doesn't understand how vital alliances have made a huge difference for the security of the United States and the lives of Europeans?" Kerry continued.

He also accused Trump of showing "woeful ignorance of the work his predecessor's administration did to increase European defense spending."

Kerry's remarks came after Trump aired a number of grievances against NATO — largely surrounding foreign contributions to the group and concerning Germany — while speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday.

"Many countries are not paying what they should. And, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them," Trump said.

"So if you go back 10 or 20 years, you'll just add it all up. It's massive amounts of money is owed," he added.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoGOP lawmaker: Trump administration 'playing checkers' in Syria while others are 'playing chess' Trump-Graham relationship tested by week of public sparring White House officials work to tamp down controversies after a tumultuous week MORE, meanwhile, praised NATO on Twitter, calling it the "most successful alliance in history."

"All #NATO allies have committed to extending this success through increased defense spending, deterrence and defense, and fighting terrorism. Weakness provokes; strength and cohesion protects. This remains our bedrock belief," Pompeo wrote.

Kerry, who led the State Department from 2013 to 2017, has been a vocal critic of many of Trump's foreign policy moves since entering office, including his decision to pull the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal and withdraw from the Paris climate accord.