Right Now: Trump prepares for Day 2 of the NATO summit, before heading to Britain.
• President Trump is on a seven-day, three-nation European trip — to Belgium, Britain and then Finland for talks with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia — that highlights the ways he has utterly transformed United States foreign policy.
• Though he criticized allies and pressed for large spending increases, Mr. Trump also signed on to a joint statement at the NATO summit meeting that largely reaffirmed existing commitments.
• The second and final day of the NATO talks will include a heads-of-state meeting with Georgia and Ukraine and a discussion on Afghanistan.
• Mr. Trump will hold separate private meetings on the sidelines with the leaders of Azerbaijan, Romania, Ukraine and Georgia, and shake hands with the leaders of Armenia and Hungary. He travels to London in the early afternoon.
• The New York Times will have live coverage from Brussels throughout the meeting, from our White House reporters and European correspondents. Pictures from Mr. Trump’s weeklong trip are here.
Trump calls for more military spending
Mr. Trump called on other NATO members to more than double their military spending in talks on Wednesday, the White House said, although he and other leaders signed a statement that largely reiterates existing principles and commitments.
“During the president’s remarks today at the NATO summit, he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 percent of their G.D.P. on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4 percent,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement.
“President Trump,” the statement said, “wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations.”
Still, along with 28 other heads of state, Mr. Trump signed the 23-page NATO declaration, which reflects months of negotiation. That contrasts with Mr. Trump’s departure last month from the Group of 7 summit meeting, when he refused to sign onto the usual carefully crafted communiqué.
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NATO members agreed in 2014 to spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on their militaries by 2024. Mr. Trump has repeatedly castigated other countries for spending less, even though the deadline is six years away, but the declaration reaffirmed the commitment to that target.
The 79-point joint statement also censured Russia’s actions in Ukraine in the bluntest terms: “We strongly condemn Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, which we do not and will not recognize.”
Just over a week ago, the president told reporters on Air Force One that he was considering supporting Russia’s claim to Crimea, which it seized in 2014.
The allies agreed to a NATO Readiness Initiative, which would allow the group to assemble a fighting force of 30 land battalions, 30 aircraft squadrons and 30 warships within 30 days. The initiative reflects a “30-30-30-30” plan pushed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and meant to deter Russian aggression in Europe.
As Mr. Trump exited the NATO headquarters, he left allies and analysts alike a bit off balance.
“Trump is coming through and saying, ‘What have you done for me lately?’” Jorge Benitez, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said in an interview. “Trump seems to be defining U.S. national interests that are competitive with our allies and yet cooperative with North Korea, cooperative with Russia, and cooperative with China. That doesn’t seem consistent.” — Katie Rogers
In a combative start, Trump belittles allies, especially Germany
Mr. Trump kicked off his meetings on a defiant note, calling allies “delinquent” over their military spending and attacking Germany as a “captive” of Russia because of its energy dealings.
“Many countries are not paying what they should, and, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money from many years back,” Mr. Trump said at a breakfast with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, at the residence of the American ambassador to Belgium. “They’re delinquent, as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them.”
He singled out Germany for particularly sharp criticism, saying the country was “totally controlled by Russia” because of its dependence on imported natural gas. The United States spends heavily to defend Germany from Russia, he said, and “Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia.”
He criticized Berlin for giving approval for Gazprom, the Russian energy titan, to construct the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through its waters, a $10 billion project.
“Germany is a captive of Russia,” Mr. Trump said. “I think it’s something that NATO has to look at.” — Julie Hirschfeld Davis
Merkel says she knows what Russian control looks like
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, offered a reminder that she learned firsthand what it means to be a “captive” nation. Modern Germany, she said, is not one.
“I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union,” she told reporters who asked about Mr. Trump’s comments as she entered the NATO leaders’ meeting. Now “united in freedom,” she said, Germans “can make our own policies and make our own decisions.”
In her typical polite-but-firm fashion, Ms. Merkel showed no sign of irritation at Mr. Trump’s remarks and did not say directly that he was wrong, but she made her position clear.
She noted that Germany was the second-largest provider of NATO troops, after the United States, and had thousands of troops supporting the American-led effort in Afghanistan.
“Germany does a lot for NATO,” she said, adding that, in the process, Germans “defend the interests of the United States.”
What’s behind Trump’s criticism of Germany?
Mr. Trump, who is to meet with Mr. Putin next week, may have raised the issue of the natural gas pipeline to deflect accusations that he has been too cozy with the Russian president — charges bolstered by the continuing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Mr. Trump said that Germany’s leaders were too beholden to Russia.
“The former chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas,” Mr. Trump said, referring to Gerhard Schröder, who leads the Nord Stream 2 project. “So you tell me, is that appropriate?”
The pipeline is a delicate issue in Europe, where many people oppose it on security and environmental grounds.
The current pipelines pass through Ukraine, Belarus and Poland, but Nord Stream 2 would bypass those countries. That has raised fears that Russia could manipulate supplies to its East European neighbors while maintaining the flow to Western Europe. — Julie Hirschfeld Davis
Trump’s remarks on Europe anger Democrats
European leaders’ response to Mr. Trump’s comments was muted, but the reaction from top Democrats in Congress was emphatically not.
“President Trump’s brazen insults and denigration of one of America’s most steadfast allies, Germany, is an embarrassment,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California said in a joint statement.
Mr. Schumer and Ms. Pelosi said the president’s posture at the NATO gathering had raised their level of concern about his coming meeting with Mr. Putin. They took the opportunity to lay out their standards for what would constitute a positive meeting with the Russian leader — namely, a halt to the kind of interference that some Democrats say helped to elect Mr. Trump. — Julie Hirschfeld Davis
On military spending, Trump cites a real imbalance in misleading ways
American presidents have long pressed their NATO counterparts to increase military spending. But Mr. Trump’s insistence that the other nations owe money misstates how the alliance works, and the figures he cites are misleading.
(Our reporters fact-checked the president’s claims on the financial relationship between the United States and other NATO countries.)
NATO has a budget to cover shared costs and some equipment used in joint operations, and all 29 member countries contribute to it. None of the allies has failed to pay its contribution.
Mr. Trump’s complaint is that, while NATO member countries have agreed to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic products on military spending, most do not. But none has violated that agreement, because the 2 percent figure is a target to be reached by 2024.
According to NATO, all members have significantly raised military spending since 2014, and eight are expected to meet the goal this year.
Mr. Trump tweeted on Monday that the United States accounted for 90 percent of military spending by NATO countries, but the alliance says the real figure is about 67 percent. And most American military spending is not NATO-related.
Even so, the organization says on its website, “There is an overreliance by the alliance as a whole on the United States for the provision of essential capabilities, including, for instance, in regard to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; air-to-air refueling; ballistic missile defense; and airborne electronic warfare.”
— Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Steven Erlanger
Stoltenberg shrugs off Trump’s scolding
If Mr. Stoltenberg felt ambushed by Mr. Trump, he gave no sign of it, declining to get drawn into an argument with the president in front of a clutch of reporters.
Instead, the secretary general, a generally unflappable Norwegian, stuck to his mantra of recent days: NATO members are united on the principle of collective defense, whatever their disagreements.
(Steven Erlanger analyzed the European balancing act before the meeting.)
Rather than confronting Mr. Trump, Mr. Stoltenberg has repeatedly given nods to the president, praising his “direct language” and “plain-speaking,” and saying that “we all agree” that more military spending is needed.
He gamely stuck to his insistence that dissension does not undermine the alliance, even as Mr. Trump’s denigrations continued.
“I’m confident that despite discussions, disagreements, we will decide and we will deliver,” Mr. Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.
Trump meets privately with Merkel and Macron
Mr. Trump held brief private meetings with Chancellor Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron of France on the sidelines of the NATO summit meeting.
Ms. Sanders, the White House press secretary, said the president would use his session with Ms. Merkel to reiterate concerns about Germany’s energy dependence on Russia. — Julie Hirschfeld Davis
A Twitter-free zone? Trump finds a way
If Mr. Trump was in a prickly mood as he entered the NATO meeting, his aides and wary allies found one source of comfort: no Twitter.
Cellphones are banned from the room where the 29 leaders are gathered, and NATO jams signals in the building to prevent eavesdropping and hacking. So people did not expect Mr. Trump to have access to his favorite medium for at least for a few hours.
Somehow, the president found a way to tweet.
As the opening meeting proceeded into a classified session on Wednesday, Mr. Trump sent out messages about the trade war he had escalated by imposing tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. He said he had acted on behalf of American agriculture.
He continued on Twitter that he would open things “better than ever before, but it can’t go too quickly. I am fighting for a level playing field for our farmers, and will win!”
It was not clear whether Mr. Trump violated the NATO meeting’s no-phone rule, or whether the tweet was sent by an aide outside the room. But one thing was certain: There is no keeping @realdonaldtrump from his followers. — Julie Hirschfeld Davis
A show of solidarity with Ukraine
NATO leaders are set to meet with their Ukrainian counterparts on Thursday to show solidarity with Kiev, after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, and in the face of Moscow’s continuing military support of rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The meeting is a pointed reminder from the West of the principle that one nation should not violate the territorial integrity of another. Talks on resolving the dispute in Ukraine have essentially stalled.
NATO leaders are also to meet with the leaders of Georgia on Thursday, in a similar show of support for Tbilisi against Russia, which has occupied parts of the country since 2008.
Ukraine and Georgia will be invited to discuss their progress in security and defense overhauls and their cooperation with NATO, but long-delayed plans to have them join the alliance remain suspended. — Steven Erlanger
After NATO: Queen Elizabeth and Theresa May
The next leg of Mr. Trump’s trip will take him to Britain from Thursday through Sunday, where he will be greeted with pomp and protests. The president will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II, while thousands of people are expected to demonstrate against him.
Buckingham Palace has released a detailed agenda for the visit with the queen on Friday. She will welcome the Trumps at the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle, where an honor guard will perform the national anthem and give a royal salute. Then it’s on to tea.
The president will hopscotch across the London area by air, avoiding traffic, protests, and, yes, that giant, diapered-baby float. The U.S. Embassy has warned Americans in London to “keep a low profile” from Thursday until Saturday.
Mr. Trump plans to travel to Scotland on Saturday and to stay at one of his golf resorts, Trump Turnberry, before flying the next day to Helsinki. — Katie Rogers
Wrapping up the trip: One on one with Putin
Mr. Trump’s first summit meeting with the Russian president will be parsed for countless layers of meaning.
The West’s stance toward Russia is, as always, a central topic at the NATO meeting, and the United States’ European allies are worried that Mr. Trump aims to reduce the American security role in dealing with Moscow.
Russia is waging a proxy war against Ukraine, has forcibly annexed part of that country, has meddled in other nations’ elections, gives crucial support to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and stands accused of using a chemical weapon on British soil.
Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign is under investigation for links to Russia, and Mr. Trump, who is quick to aim a barb at almost anyone else, has been reluctant to criticize Mr. Putin. Yet he and his aides bristle at accusations that he is not tough enough with the Kremlin.
The meeting with Mr. Putin will be closely analyzed for signs that Mr. Trump is friendlier to his Russian counterpart than to the leaders he is meeting in Brussels.