NATO Summit: Trump Calls Macron’s “Deadly Brain” Comments “Nasty”

US President Donald Trump has accused his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron of being “bad” for calling NATO “brain dead.”

Trump slapped him down and warned that he could see Paris “breaking away” from NATO.

“NATO serves a great purpose,” Trump said, at a joint press appearance with alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

“I think that’s very insulting,” he said of Macron’s comment, branding it a “very, very nasty statement essentially to 28 countries.

“Nobody needs NATO more than France,” he said. “It’s a very dangerous statement for them to make.

President Trump is in London for a summit marking the 70th anniversary of the block.

At a press conference, Trump said that NATO was very useful and that Mr Macron’s remarks had been “very insulting”.

He also said he could see France “breaking up” with NATO, without explaining why.

NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – was created after the Second World War to counter the threat of Soviet expansion. The 29 Member States pledge to help, if necessary.

But last month, Macron complained that NATO members were no longer cooperating on key issues.

He described the alliance as “brain dead,” pointing to what he saw as a diminishing commitment from his main guarantor – the United States.

The summit, scheduled to start next Tuesday, has already been overshadowed by a bitter dispute between the Member States, France and Turkey, and the continuing debate over money.

Along with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Trump said that NATO “has great value,” but was then asked what he thought of  Macron’s statements.

He said he thought the French leader had been “very disrespectful” to the other members of the alliance.

“It’s a very, very nasty statement, I think they have a very high unemployment rate in France, France is not doing well economically at all,” he said.

“It’s a very difficult statement to make when you have so much trouble in France when you look at what’s going on, they had a very difficult year, you just can not make such statements about NATO. is very disrespectful. ”

He added: “Nobody needs NATO more than France … it’s the US that benefits the least, which is a very dangerous statement for them.

“I look at him  Macron) and say he needs protection more than anyone else and I see him breaking up (from NATO), so I’m a bit surprised at that.”

Trump reiterated his longstanding complaint that many other NATO members were not contributing enough financially. He singled out Germany as being late. According to the latest figures released by NATO, Germany spends 1.36% of its GDP on defense when the NATO guideline is 2%.

But he added, “The world has changed a lot and NATO is changing, I have become a bigger fan of NATO because they have become more flexible.”