US president Donald Trump on Tuesday took personal credit for the strength of NATO, an organization he has frequently criticized, and cast his recent meeting with ally countries in a positive light.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is better-funded “only because of me,” said Trump in a tweet.
“I had a great meeting with NATO,” he said in the same tweet. “NATO was weak, but now it is strong again (bad for Russia). The media only says I was rude to leaders, never mentions the money!”
Trump was met with a tidal wave of criticism from friends and critics alike after his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with most saying his embrace of Putin while belittling U.S. agencies and allies was a betrayal of what the United States stands for.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, said late on July 16 that Trump was wrong to question once again the conclusions of the U.S. Justice Department and intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
“The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals,” Ryan said.
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican candidate for president, called Trump’s behavior “disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles” and said it “undermines our national integrity and impairs our global credibility.”
“Russia remains our No. 1 geopolitical adversary,” Romney said, adding that Trump’s stance “defies reason and history.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s political and media establishment heralded talks between the Russian and U.S. leaders in Helsinki as a victory for Vladimir Putin in breaking down Western resolve to treat Russia as a pariah.
Asked by reporters in Helsinki how the talks had gone, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “Magnificent… Better than super.”