President Trump said Tuesday that an upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin might be easier than a gathering with NATO allies, as he left the White House for a week of high-profile diplomacy in Europe.
In tweets and comments to reporters before departing, Trump took fresh aim at other NATO members for not meeting targets for defense spending, saying the arrangement was unfair to U.S. taxpayers.
His trip to Europe will also include a meeting in Britain with Prime Minister Theresa May, whose government is in disarray after a pair of key resignations, and a weekend of golf in Scotland.
“So I have NATO, I have the U.K. — which is somewhat in turmoil,” Trump told reporters. “And I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think? Who would think?”
Asked if he considers Putin a friend or a foe, Trump said: “I really can’t say right now. As far as I’m concerned, he’s a competitor.”