Trump Cancels Final NATO Press Conference: ‘I Will Be Heading Back to Washington’

December 4, 2019 Updated: December 4, 2019

President Donald Trump announced he will not attend the final NATO press conference and will head back to Washington soon.

“When today’s meetings are over, I will be heading back to Washington. We won’t be doing a press conference at the close of NATO because we did so many over the past two days. Safe travels to all!” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning.

Before, the president wrote that he held meetings with Turkey and Germany, noting there has been great progress that has been made by NATO members over the last three years.

“Countries other than the U.S. have agreed to pay 130 Billion Dollars more per year, and by 2024, that number will be 400 Billion Dollars. NATO will be richer and stronger than ever before,” Trump tweeted.

He made the announcement after calling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada “two-faced” while speaking to reporters before a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A video surfaced showing Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson commiserating a delayed press conference.

The leaders apparently didn’t realize they were being recorded via a hot microphone. Johnson asked Macron, “Is that why you were late?” and Trudeau replied with: “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.” It’s not exactly clear who he was referring to, but it has been widely speculated it was Trump.

“He’s two-faced,” Trump told reporters earlier in the day in reference to Trudeau’s comments. “I find him to be a very nice guy but the truth is I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2 percent [on Canada’s defense budget as per the NATO agreement] and I guess he’s not very happy about it.”

Trump added, “He’s not paying 2 percent and he should be paying 2 percent. It’s Canada, they have money and they should be paying 2 percent. So I called him out on that and I’m sure he wasn’t happy about it but that’s the way it is.”

Trudeau was also forced to respond to Trump’s Wednesday comment and said he has a “very good relationship” with Trump, The New York Times reported.

Trump and prior U.S. presidents have called on NATO members to spend at least 2 percent of their budget on defense. Reports have noted that just seven of the 29 NATO members have reached that target, and the United States is by far the largest contributor. Canada, meanwhile, has pledged only 1.4 percent of its budget for defense, the CTV reported.

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