Trump Tried to Take a Victory Lap on NATO Defense Spending. It Didn’t Go So Well.

“I’m very consistent. I’m a very stable genius.”

Bernd Von Jutrczenka/ZUMA

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President Donald Trump struck a victorious tone after a tense NATO summit in Brussels, claiming in an unplanned news conference that he had convinced European allies to boost defense spending beyond previous targets.

“Everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment,” Trump said on Thursday. “They’re going to up it at levels that they’ve never thought of before.”

That would be news, however, to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Shortly after Trump’s wide-ranging press conference concluded, Macron told reporters that NATO members never agreed to increase military spending commitments above the previously established goal of 2 percent of each country’s gross domestic product. (On Wednesday, Trump surprised alliance members by demanding they increase contributions to 4 percent immediately.)

“It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024,” Macron said. “That’s all.”

He also contradicted news reports that Trump threatened to pull the US out of the alliance, reports Trump refused to directly deny during on Thursday. “President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO,” Macron said.

Despite the contradictions, European leaders are likely welcoming the optimism about NATO that Trump displayed during his press conference. “I believe in NATO,” Trump said. “I think NATO is a very important, probably the greatest ever done.”

When asked if he would be tweeting differently about the alliance once he left Brussels, Trump said no. “Other people that do that. I’m very consistent. I’m a very stable genius.” The comment prompted laughter from reporters in the room.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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