When it comes to being beholden to the Kremlin, the world’s foremost expert is Donald Trump who, despite tweeting “NO COLLUSION” to his 54 million Twitter followers dozens of times a week, is under investigation for collusion with Moscow during the 2016 election and also for obstructing the investigation into that collusion.
So I guess, when he says someone is in Putin’s pocket, the world should listen – after all, he knows what that’s like.
Speaking to reporters at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Wednesday, Trump contented that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline essentially makes Germany an energy serf.
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia”, he said, referencing the pipeline, before essentially posing the following rhetorical question: “Do you think that’s a good thing for NATO?” Here’s the clip:
As you can see, Trump claims that’s not “appropriate” and seems to suggest he’s not going to put up with it.
Well, speaking of putting up with things that are inappropriate, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told BBC that Germany is basically just going to let Trump say whatever Trump wants to say about the Nord Stream 2 and whatever else the U.S. President wants to ramble about because there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
“We can cope with it [and] we’ve heard him before and seen the tweets”, the Minister said, adding that Germany “has an independent energy supply” and that as a country, they “are just diversifying”.
This isn’t a new debate. The U.S. has said on a number of occasions that the project risks incurring sanctions and it’s just another point of contention between Washington and Berlin. Back in May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump was attempting to use the trade war as leverage to secure a halt to the Nord Stream 2.
Germany is likely to suffer through withering criticism from Trump in Brussels. Ahead of the summit, the New York Times detailed letters he sent to NATO allies and here’s what Trump told Merkel:
As we discussed during your visit in April, there is growing frustration in the United States that some allies have not stepped up as promised. Continued German underspending on defense undermines the security of the alliance and provides validation for other allies that also do not plan to meet their military spending commitments, because others see you as a role model.
You get the idea.
Of course the irony in Trump accusing Germany of being “captive to Russia” is impossible to ignore and Wednesday’s comments are surely the subject of quite a few jokes in Brussels already. Especially considering Trump is just days away from attending a summit with Putin in Helsinki.