Trump says US allies are 'in many ways worse than the enemy' and claims Germany preferred Obama

US president was speaking at campaign rally in Florida

James Crump
Thursday 29 October 2020 22:49 GMT
Trump says US allies are 'in many ways worse than the enemy' and blasts Germans for saying they preferred Obama

President Donald Trump said that US allies in many ways treat “us worse than the enemy,” as he claimed that Germans prefer former president Barack Obama.

Speaking during a rally in Tampa, Florida, on Thursday, Mr Trump said that Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s policies would put the US in a “depression,” and weaken its strength on the international stage.

“He wants you to surrender our country to China, to all of these over countries that have taken total advantage of us,” President Trump said, as the crowd started to boo.

“You know in many ways our allies treat us worse than the enemy. The enemy at least we have our guard up. Our allies, what they have done to us in terms of military protection and trade is disgraceful.

“And when they come out and they say they like Barack Hussein Obama much more than they like Trump, that means I’m doing my job,” the president said as the booing intensified at the rally.

There do not appear to be any recent reports linking any members of the German government to comments about the country preferring Mr Obama to President Trump.

The Independent has contacted the Trump campaign for clarification on what President Trump was referring to with that remark.

However, a recent poll from the Pew Research Centre found that the favourability rating of the US from residents of allied countries has fallen dramatically over the last few years.

The poll found that only 41 per cent of people in the UK, 31 per cent in Canada and 26 per cent in Germany have a favourable view of the US.

The only time the US’s favourability rating in Germany was lower in the last 20 years was when it was at 25 per cent in March 2003, when tensions over the Iraq War were at their highest.

Mr Trump added: “Now Germany said it the other day - and I have roots in Germany, but Germany said it the other day. They like Barack Hussein Obama, and they should because Germany is delinquent in their NATO payments, very delinquent.

“They’re at half a level, and they are very rich, they could do whatever they want, it’s not like they don’t have the money. And I called them out and said if you don’t pay I’m going to start taking our troops out,” as the crowd in Tampa cheered.

Earlier this year, President Trump announced his administration's intention to remove up to 12,000 US armed forces personnel from Germany.

US defence secretary Mark Esper said that the decision was part of a long-term Pentagon plan, but President Trump insisted that it was a punishment for what he deemed to be low defence spending from the country.

“We don't want to be the suckers anymore,” the president told reporters at the White House in July. “We're reducing the force because they're not paying their bills; it's very simple.”

NATO countries have agreed to meet a defence spending target of 2 per cent GDP by 2024, but so far Germany, alongside many other alliance countries, has only reached a 1.57 per cent GDP spend.

Reacting to the administration’s plans earlier in the year, the chairman of Germany’s foreign affairs committee said that it would “weaken the Nato alliance”.

The troops are set to be redeployed in other NATO countries, including Belgium, Spain and Italy, while more than 6,000 will be sent back to the US.

Mr Trump and Mr Biden both held rallies in the swing state of Florida on Thursday, which the president likely needs to win to have a chance of being re-elected on 3 November.

President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Florida in 2016 by less than two percentage points, but current polling is giving Mr Biden a lead in the state with just five days until the national election.

CNN's Poll of Polls, which tracks the average of poll results across all surveys, currently shows the Democratic nominee with a lead over President Trump in Florida of 49 to 45 per cent.

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