President Donald Trump offered a defense of his “America First” policies Monday during a North Carolina rally in which he contrasted his efforts to make Europe pay its fair share of defense costs with the administration of former President Barack Obama.
“You finally have a president who understands that I’m not supposed to be president of the world; I’m supposed to be President of the United States of America to bring back our jobs from other countries,” Trump told the crowd.
“I read where Obama is more popular in Germany than Trump. He’s got to be. I’m making people pay their bills. He’s got to be. The day I’m more popular than him, I’m not doing my job,” he said.
Trump told his North Carolina supporters that until his election, America was on the losing end of deal after deal.
“For decades, our leaders put global interests and special interests ahead of your interests,” he said. “You know that better than anybody and this state knows it better than anybody. They traded away your factories and sold your future.”
Trump said Obama stumbled into “one foreign debacle after another.”
WATCH THE TRUMP RALLY HERE:
As a result, other nations acted unfairly toward America.
“They’ve taken advantage of us for years, and I have to say sadly in many cases it’s our allies that took the greatest advantage of this country.”
The president honed in on the demands he made upon taking office that other NATO countries increase their military spending to better bear the costs of their own defense.
“I also got other NATO members to pay an additional $100 billion over the last year and a half that they weren’t paying,” Trump said.
“They were delinquent. We’re supposed to protect them and they don’t pay. I say you can’t do that. You can’t do that,” he said, adding that NATO members shirked full payment for “decades.”
“Now we’re finally making immensely wealthy countries pay the cost of their defense; we’re negotiating with a lot of them. Think of it we have these immensely wealthy countries and they’re paying for a fraction of our costs to defend them.”