- The Washington Times - Monday, June 15, 2020

President Trump confirmed on Monday that he’s prepared to recall about half of the U.S. soldiers stationed in Germany if that nation doesn’t pay more to NATO and treat Washington more fairly on trade issues.

The president told reporters that the current deployment of about 52,000 U.S. troops in Germany is a “tremendous” cost to America that isn’t being reciprocated.

“We’re putting the number down to 25,000 soldiers,” Mr. Trump said. “Germany, as you know, is very delinquent in their payments to NATO — paying 1% and they’re supposed to be at 2%.”

Although around 50,000 American troops are authorized to be stationed in Germany, currently there are about 34,000 U.S. troops deployed in Germany. There has also been speculation some of the forces in Germany could be redeployed in Poland and elsewhere in Europe closer to Russia.

President Trump suggested Monday that he could change his mind about the withdrawal of troops if Germany also gives the U.S. more favorable terms on trade in its dealings with the European Union.”We’re negotiating with them on that, but right now I’m not satisfied with the deal they want to make,” the president said.

The president also cited Germany’s purchase of energy from Russia as a sore point.

“Why is Germany paying Russia billions of dollars for energy, and then we’re supposed to protect Germany from Russia?” he said. “How does that work? It doesn’t work.”

He called the U.S. troops “well-paid soldiers” whose departure would hurt parts of the Germany economy around military bases.

“They live in Germany, they spend vast amounts of money in Germany, everywhere around those bases is very prosperous for Germany,” he said. “

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