- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 29, 2020

President Trump didn’t mince words on Wednesday in defense of his troop reduction plan in Germany by saying the U.S. was done being financial “suckers” on trade and defense issues.

The Republican, peppered with questions about shifting nearly 12,000 troops to other NATO allies and stateside, said that he was bringing balance to a lopsided relationship.

“[U.S. troops are] there to protect Europe,” he said. “They’re there to protect Germany, right? And Germany is supposed to pay for it. Germany is not paying for it. … We don’t want to be suckers anymore. The United States has been taken advantage of for 25 years, both on trade and on the military. We’re protecting Germany. So we’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills. It’s very simple: they’re delinquent.”

Mr. Trump’s plan involves moving the headquarters of U.S. European Command from Germany to Belgium, in addition to shifting 5,400 troops to other NATO allies.

Roughly 6,400 of troops will return to the United States.

“You have eight out of the 28 countries that are paid up,” Mr. Trump continued. “I got them to pay $130 billion a year more going up to $400 billion. Most of them will be up to date. It wasn’t easy, but most of them will be up to date. The one that won’t be up to date is Germany. And we spend a lot of money on Germany. They take advantage of us on trade and they take advantage on the military. So we’re reducing the force.”

The president said he would reconsider his position if Germany begins “paying their bills.”

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