First Lady Melania Trump shined as she arrived in Belgium with her husband, President Donald Trump. Landing in the nearby Belgian capital of Brussels last night, the couple is visiting Europe for the NATO Summit in what is expected to be a confrontational encounter. President Trump is on a mission to boost spending by other NATO members.
The picture of elegance as always, Melania stepped out in a stylish structured navy blue dress by designer Calvin Klein, with the skirt falling just below her knees.
Hair loose and down as is her normal style and sporting her trademark Christian Louboutin stilettos with the featured the trademark red soles, Melania did not disappoint fashion fans eager to see what she would wear on her much-anticipated trip abroad.
She showed no signs of jet lag as she arrived at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo, Belgium on Tuesday. Spouses of NATO leaders attended a piano and violin concert, while President Trump and other world leaders were otherwise engaged in negotiations that could be vitally important to the future economic health of America.
Melania was in the company of the spouses of other world leaders, sitting beside fellow First Lady, Brigitte Macron. Also joining her was Emine Erdogan, wife of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey. They were welcomed at the music center by Amelie Derbaudrenghien, the partner of Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, and Ingrid Schulerud, the wife of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
While Melania was outshining the wives of other heads of state, President Trump was out negotiating them.
President Trump has repeatedly spoken out about the what a bad deal NATO is for America and came out swinging regarding the hypocrisy of NATO’s goal to protect countries from Russia while at the same time making energy deals with the nation.
NATO is also known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. NATO was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere.
Except it has not worked out quite like that with America bearing the brunt of the costs. Meanwhile, the craven, stingy European members of NATO boast a measly 16 of 22 members on budget for their agreed upon military spending under the agreement.
He has also recently called out various member states for not living up to a 2014 pledge to reach two percent of GDP on defense by 2024 only three European countries have reached the mark.
Last month President Trump issued formal warnings in letters sent to leaders whose countries are not living up to their NATO defense spending pledges, saying that the US could cut them off while further questioning why Washington should spend money to protect nations it is running a trade deficit with, raising the issue of the potential for using this a bargaining chip in trade talks.
Washington currently spends roughly 70% of its defense budget on NATO according to U.S. officials. President Trump has repeatedly made the point that having an alliance means a shared investment as well as a shared interest.
President Trump tweeted on Tuesday echoing earlier posts on Twitter in days prior. The sentiment he shared matched the criticisms he listed at a rally of supporters in Montana last week, in which he said that Washington was unfairly carrying almost all the cost of defending Europe.
President Trump pulled no punches, when speaking to Stoltenberg at a breakfast, blasting Germany for a pipeline project that he said made Germany “totally controlled by Russia.”
The president was calling out the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany’s northeastern Baltic coast. This pipeline would bypass Eastern European nations and double the amount of gas that Russia can pipe directly to Germany. The pipeline already has significant opponents among some NATO nations.
He stated – “So we’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia and I think that’s very in inappropriate and the former Chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that is supplying the gas.
Ultimately, Germany will have almost 70% of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas. So you tell me, is that appropriate? I’ve been complaining about this from the time I got in.”
President Trump then asked the obvious question – “They’ll say wait a minute we’re supposed to be protecting you from Russia but why are you paying billions of dollars to Russia for energy? Why are countries in NATO, namely Germany having a large percentage of their energy needs paid to Russia and taken care of by Russia?”
President Trump is quite right that America’s NATO allies, particularly Germany and Canada, do not spend anywhere near enough on defense. Germany reportedly has less than twenty operational tanks at this current time, while Canada’s armed forces are smaller than the current New York City police department.