Headed to Europe for a series of crucial meetings with leaders of NATO, Russia and Britain, US President Donald Trump today said he expects talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to be the "easiest" of them all.
I have NATO, I have the U.K., which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think? Who would think? Trump told reporters travelling with him.
The NATO summit meeting in Brussels would be his first engagement in Europe. Trump has been asking NATO countries to increase their defence spending as currently it is the US which is spending the most.
NATO has not treated us fairly, but I think we'll work something out. We pay far too much, and they pay far too little. But we will work it out and all countries will be happy, he said.
Responding to a question on political turmoil in Britain and if May should stay in power, he said it's up to the people of the country. Well, that's up to the people. I get along with her very well. I have a very good relationship. That's certainly up to the people, not up to me," he said.
But we cannot be taken advantage of. We're being taken advantage of by the European Union. We lost USD 151 billion last year on trade, and on top of that we spend at least 70 per cent for NATO, and frankly it helps them a lot more than it helps us, he said.
We'll see what happens. We have a long, beautiful week, he said.
When asked if Putin is a friend or foe, Trump said he is a competitor. "I really can't say right now. As far as I'm concerned, a competitor. A competitor. I think that getting along with Russia, getting along with China, getting along with others, is a good thing, not a bad thing. I've said that many times for many years. So we'll see. We're meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday. We'll see how that goes," Trump said.
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