In a sign of the rows which are expected to take place over the two day summit, Mr Trump questioned why Germany pays billions of dollars to Russian Federation for gas supplies but then demands that the U.S. defends it from Russian Federation.
As he left the White House for Brussels, Mr Trump said the alliance's members were contributing too little and that he would have no problems in his meeting with the Russian leader, heightening fears in Brussels about a further tear in the already damaged transatlantic alliance.
"NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS".
He vowed not to be "taken advantage" of by the European Union, which he accuses of freeloading by relying on the United States for its defense while blocking USA imports into the bloc, the world's biggest market.
"We're protecting Germany, France and everybody. this has been going on for decades", Trump said.
But Mr Putin? "Frankly, [he] may be the easiest of them all", he said. Trump will have his first standalone summit with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, Monday.
"European troops have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in Afghanistan; 870 courageous men and women sacrificed their lives, including 40 soldiers from my homeland, Poland", said Mr. Tusk. "Who would think", the president said.
Similarly, earlier on Tuesday the president tweeted, "Getting ready to leave for Europe".
"The European Union makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe (U.S. has a $151 Billion trade deficit), and then they want us to happily defend them through North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and nicely pay for it".
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U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while speaking to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during their bilateral breakfast, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.
"I look forward to having words with President Trump".
The alliance says that 15 members, or just over half, will meet the benchmark by that year, based on current trends. Privately some European diplomats have been shouting - well, raising their voices - at me in back hallways because of their anger over Mr Trump. After locking horns over tariffs and trade at the G7 summit in Canada in June, the U.S. president left the meeting and immediately withdrew his endorsement of the joint communiqué en route to Singapore to meet with dictator Kim Jong Un.
Trump has called on allied countries to meet or exceed the 2014 Wales summit goal of spending 2 percent GDP on defense spending.
Asked by reporters if he considers Putin a friend or foe, Trump answered, "competitor".
Trump also heaped praise on former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who led Britain's "leave" campaign during its 2016 Brexit referendum, and whose resignation this week has triggered a political crisis for Britain's Conservative government.
'The alliance can rely on the United Kingdom to lead by example, not just in meeting the 2 per cent pledge but by contributing our cutting-edge capabilities to operations around the world, ' she said.
The U.S. president noted that Germany had shut down coal and nuclear power plants on environmental grounds, increasing dependence, like much of the rest of Europe, on Russian gas.
Vladimir Putin. The not-exactly glacial relationship between Russia's autocratic leader and the volatile American president has caused some angst in diplomatic circles.