President Donald Trump is in Brussels, Belgium meeting with NATO allies and a "family picture" of the president and leaders of the 28 other member nations perfectly sums up the strained relationship the United States now has with Europe.
The photo was captured Wednesday afternoon following a summit Trump attended with European leaders. It shows Trump staring off into the sky in the complete opposite direction compared to where every other representative was facing.
This photo is the perfect metaphor. Donald Trump clearly sees the world the wrong way when compared to other NATO l… https://t.co/wc3Hj5g9vN— Adam Best (@Adam Best) 1531319267.0
Critics of the president on Twitter lambasted Trump for the picture, calling him "too stupid to follow directions."
@adamcbest 🙄😐🤷♀️ https://t.co/f1NNCIu4k9— Janet Yackle (@Janet Yackle) 1531322116.0
@adamcbest It's because he is a #fuckingmoron Period #AdultDayCare #UnfitForOffice— JuuuustSayin (@JuuuustSayin) 1531319710.0
"What does OTAN mean?" Oy.
@adamcbest and he's wondering, "What does OTAN mean?" and "Why am I here w/ these strangers?" and "Where's Putin?"— Christine Miles 🌄 (@Christine Miles 🌄) 1531319494.0
@adamcbest Photographer to NATO Leaders: "Okay, if everyone can look to their left please."— RandymH (@RandymH) 1531328460.0
@adamcbest Trump: Where is the shiny object? I can’t see it. Rest of the World: No fool, it’s there, but you can’t… https://t.co/mSfTk4mw0a— 💫Patsy💥Dryden ☘️🌊🌹 (@💫Patsy💥Dryden ☘️🌊🌹) 1531320323.0
One person noted the similarity between the NATO picture and an image of Trump staring at last year's total solar eclipse without sunglasses, which he was explicitly instructed not to do.
@adamcbest He's looking for the solar eclipse, pining for burning retinas.— James Sanyshyn (@James Sanyshyn) 1531320245.0
I think Trump discovered that he has a hole in his brain--not that his looking up at the eclipse did it, but that t… https://t.co/BgM8JRal7P— Craig (@Craig) 1530828684.0
Others wondered if Trump was trying to see the giant baby Trump blimp which is set to fly over London during his visit to the United Kingdom on Friday.
So this is what Trump was looking for. Mystery solved! https://t.co/c9E3xGSecY— Guy Verhofstadt (@Guy Verhofstadt) 1531328553.0
You know, sometimes we just need a chuckle to break up all the negatives, all the meanness, all the nastiness with… https://t.co/OkpJkQzSQZ— Angie Best (@Angie Best) 1530937756.0
The NATO summit had a contentious start after Trump accused Germany of being "a captive of Russia," as well as making demands that NATO countries increase their contributions from two percent to four percent of their GDPs.
“I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump said. “They will be getting between 60 and 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline, and you tell me if that is appropriate because I think it’s not.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel fired back, citing her experience growing up in Soviet-controlled East Germany:
Because of given circumstances, I want to point out one thing: I experienced the Soviet occupation of one part of Germany myself. I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany. Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions. That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany.
We won't touch on the irony of the 'controlled by Russia' narrative in this article.
Trump also claimed that NATO doesn't benefit the United States as much as it does Europe, demonstrating a gross misunderstanding of why NATO was established after World War II.
"NATO benefits Europe far more than it does the US," Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday between meetings. "By some accounts, the US is paying for 90% of NATO, with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitment. On top of this the European Union has a Trade Surplus of $151 Million with the US, with big Trade Barriers on US goods. NO!"
Trump's ongoing criticism over what he sees as the U.S. being cheated by NATO allies, who have already committed to spending up to two percent of their respective GDPs on collective defense, was harshly rebuked by European Union President Donald Tusk on Tuesday.
In the hours before the summit, Tusk urged Trump to "appreciate your allies. After all, you don't have that many."
"Dear President Trump: America does not have, and will not have, a better ally than Europe." -European Council Pres… https://t.co/3gJKHhyqtq— CNN (@CNN) 1531271483.0
Trump will travel to the U.K. Thursday for a three-day tour and meetings with Prime Minister Theresa May. His visit to London was canceled amid mass protests scheduled for Friday, the largest of which is a "Stop Trump" march that will display a giant baby Trump blimp.