Trump and Polish president Duda split over fate of US troops leaving Germany

Polish leader says removing any US forces from Europe would be 'very detrimental to European security'

Trump repeats racist 'kung flu' term describing coronavirus

Donald Trump and his Polish counterpart split on Wednesday over the fate of 27,000 American military troops the US president has vowed to remove from Germany.

Mr Trump is miffed at German leaders for not paying more into Nato coffers, calling its contributions a "tremendous delinquency." He has railed against many of the European members of the military alliance, set up after World War II to guard against potential Russian aggression.

Other world leaders have mostly tried to please Mr Trump during White House visits when they have joined him for a joint press conference or remarks. Andrzej Duda largely did the same, but did break with Mr Trump on the fate of the troops now stationed in Germany.

The Polish leader said removing any of the 52,000 US troopers currently in Germany from European soil would be "very detrimental to European security."

A few moments later, Mr Trump told reporters Poland likely would get some of the 27,000 that will be leaving. But he said some of that number would be "coming home."

Mr Trump floated the notion that Germany is paying "less than 1 per cent" of its gross domestic product to Nato. The alliance's bylaws state members should devote 2 per cent to the group.

"If you assume they're paying 1 per cent, it's a tremendous delinquency," the US leader said before appearing to confirm -- today, at least -- that the 27,000 troops will go to "other places."

"Poland would be one of those other places in Europe," he said, saying putting more American military forces closer to Russian soil would send a "strong signal" to the Kremlin.

Some of Mr Trump's critics have slammed his proposal, saying it is void of any strategic rationale. They cite his years-old feud with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom he at times has clashed. She was a close global confidante and ally of former President Barack Obama.

Meantime, Mr Trump again claimed – without offering evidence – that protesters objecting to racial inequality in the United States want to topple statues of Jesus Christ.

"Now they're looking at Jesus Christ," Mr Trump said without naming any specific statues of the Christian icon that might be in danger.

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