INTERVIEW – BOB COSTANTINI – Correspondent in LONDON (was in Brussels yesterday)
TOPIC: Report on the latest at the NATO summit and the upcoming UK trip
>> President Trump attends a second day of NATO meetings in Brussels after tense confrontations Wednesday, and will later make his first trip to Britain as commander-in-chief
— President Trump flies into Britain for talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May today and tea with Queen Elizabeth tomorrow, against a backdrop of protests and what he described as the country’s turmoil over Brexit. Fresh from the annual NATO summit, British Prime Minister Theresa May is hoping his trip will boost the close ties between their two nations and help in forging a future free trade deal.
— President Trump is continuing to hammer NATO nations over their defense spending. Trump says presidents have been trying to get “Germany and other rich NATO Nations” to pay toward protection from Russia. He says the U.S. “pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe” and is demanding members meet their pledge to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense. He says it “must ultimately” go to 4 percent. Trump’s also railing against a German pipeline deal with Russia, saying it’s “Not acceptable!”
— British Prime Minister Theresa May says President Trump’s planned face-to-face with Vladimir Putin in Finland on Monday could help reduce the risk of international confrontation with Russia. The U.K. has led efforts to punish Russia with sanctions since a nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in England in March. A second, possibly linked poisoning last month killed a woman and left another person in the hospital.
> NO ROYAL WELCOME FOR TRUMP: President Trump will make his first trip to Britain as president after a tense summit with NATO leaders in Brussels that began Wednesday … The president’s visit also comes amid turmoil in British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government because of the crisis over Britain’s exit from the European Union. Trump was expected to largely steer clear of London, where protests are planned and where organizers had permission to fly a blimp over Parliament portraying him as an orange crying baby. He is scheduled to join May for a black-tie dinner Thursday at Blenheim Palace, Churchill’s birthplace near Oxford, at the start of his trip.