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Trump on fiery form at first press conference of Nato trip

UK News | Published:

The US president hit out at France’s Emmanuel Macron, Barack Obama and the Democrats.

US President Donald Trump at a breakfast meeting with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg at Winfield House

Donald Trump’s visit to London got off to a fiery start as he used his first press conference of the trip to attack France’s Emmanuel Macron, Barack Obama and the Democrats.

The US president made the comments during a press conference with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg to mark the start of the 2019 Nato Summit.

The pair met at Winfield House in Regent’s Park in London on Tuesday morning – the official home of the US ambassador to the UK.

Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg and US President Donald Trump at Winfield House
Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg and US President Donald Trump at Winfield House (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The president seemed upbeat during the meeting – repeatedly praising Mr Stoltenberg and Nato despite his criticism of the organisation in the past.

He boasted that his efforts had forced other Nato countries to increase their contributions and ease the burden on the US, claiming America “benefits the least” from the alliance.

Mr Trump spent around 40 minutes taking questions from the press – particularly from organisations he has blamed for negative coverage in the past.

Nato defence spending in 2019 as % of GDP
(PA Graphics)

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He chose to take multiple questions from the New York Times – a publication he frequently attacks as “fake news” on Twitter – asking if he would see positive stories about him in the publication.

It was a far cry from recent fraught press conferences in the US when the president has resorted to hissing at news organisations and questions he does not like.

When asked about the upcoming British election, he claimed he was not getting involved, saying “I don’t want to complicate it”, before boasting of all the US electoral candidates he had helped win seats in midterm elections.

The president also denied claims the US was eyeing up the NHS, saying “we wouldn’t want it even if it was offered to us on a silver platter”.

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When asked about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, he said: “I can work with him. I’m a very easy man to work with.”

The president also used the time to criticise French president Mr Macron for his claim Nato is “brain dead” and to attack the current impeachment proceedings against him.

He used the questions on Syria to boast of the US’s killing of IS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi – an achievement he wants to be seen as equal to that of the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

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