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Macron: Trump never threatened to withdraw from NATO

Macron: Trump never threatened to withdraw from NATO
© Greg Nash

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday disputed reports that President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE threatened to pull the U.S. out of NATO if allies did not commit to a spending increase.

“President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO,” Macron told reporters, according to The Associated Press.

Multiple reports indicated that Trump threatened to essentially withdraw from NATO if other countries did not commit to a spending hike. The president did not deny those reports during a press conference before departing the summit, instead saying he was “very firm” with allies.

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“I told people I’d be very unhappy if they didn’t up their commitments very substantially,” Trump said.

“I think I can probably [pull out of NATO], but that’s unnecessary, and the people have stepped up today like they’ve never stepped up before,” Trump added.

The president said during his press conference that NATO allies agreed to “substantially up” their defense spending commitments.

However, Macron refuted this as well, according to the AP. He said the group affirmed the goal for member nations to contribute 2 percent of their respective gross domestic products toward defense spending by 2024.

Trump spurned that goal during this week's meetings, first requesting that members hike their commitment from 2 percent to 4 percent, and later pressing allies to hit the goal "immediately" rather than through a gradual increase.

The president spent much of his time at the summit decrying discrepancies in how much each NATO member contributes to defense spending. Trump has long complained that the U.S. shoulders an unfair amount of costs for the alliance.