On Thursday, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni joined President Donald Trump at the White House to discuss issues surrounding the global fight against terrorism.
Both leaders had praise for each other during the joint news conference, but they didn’t always agree.
While President Trump made a point to praise Italy for their troop contribution to the fight against terror in places like Afghanistan, the fact remains that Gentiloni’s nation isn’t exactly meeting the 2 percent GDP threshold that all members have pledged to support NATO.
This fact was swiftly highlighted by the very first question to the Italian prime minister, brought by Fox News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts:
“President Trump would like to see all NATO members contribute 2 percent of their GDP to NATO. Your contribution is slightly less than one percent. Will you commit to committing 2 percent of your GDP to the alliance going forward?” Roberts asked.
Before Gentiloni answered, President Trump smiled and told Roberts, “I love the question you asked the prime minister. I look forward to his answer. Because I’m going to ask him very soon.”
“The commitment has been made,” Gentiloni said. “We are used to respecting our commitments. This will be a gradual process.”
To give the issue some perspective, Italy paid around $23 billion last year, or slightly more than 1 percent of its GDP, instead of the $43 billion they are expected to pay for their own defense. By contrast, the United States spent $608 billion, or twice what it was expected to contribute.
The two leaders also disagreed on policy in Libya. While Gentiloni wants Western allies to solve the migrant crisis together, President Trump said, “I do not see a role in Libya. We have enough roles. We have a role everywhere.”
— Democrats for Trump (@YoungDems4Trump) April 20, 2017
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