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Trump enters NATO summit friendless, abandoned even by Boris Johnson

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  • President Donald Trump is heading to London for another NATO summit next week.
  • Ahead of the summit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Trump to keep quiet on the UK’s upcoming general election. 
  • “It’s best when you have close friends and allies like the US and the UK…for neither side to be involved in other’s election campaigns,” Johnson said.
  • Johnson is one of the few world leaders of a traditional US ally that Trump has not alienated, but now it seems even he is starting to sour on his American counterpart. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As leaders of NATO member states prepare for yet another summit in London next week, a familiar theme is emerging: how to keep President Donald Trump from disrupting proceedings. 

Trump has succeeded in alienating virtually every traditional ally of the US as president, and much of this is linked to his obsession with NATO funding and defense spending more generally. But it’s also due to his willingness to insert himself into the domestic politics of other countries and say whatever is on his mind. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been one Trump’s few remaining allies abroad, but now it seems even he is starting to sour on his American counterpart. 

Johnson is urging Trump to back off and keep quiet on the UK’s upcoming general election during his visit to London next week. The British prime minister has sent an unequivocal message to Trump: do not endorse. 

“We have very close relationships and friendships with the United States at every level of government, but what we don’t do traditionally as loving allies and friends…is get involved in each other’s election campaigns,” Johnson said on an interview on LBC on Friday after he was asked if Trump’s support was “welcome.”

“It’s best when you have close friends and allies like the US and the UK…for neither side to be involved in other’s election campaigns,” Johnson said.

In an October interview with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage on LBC radio, Trump threw his weight behind Johnson, referring to him as the “the exact right guy for the times.”

Consequently, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused Trump of “trying to interfere in Britain’s election to get his friend Boris Johnson elected.” Trump in the interview had said that Corbyn would be “so bad for your country,” and “take you into such bad places.”

This all occurs at a sensitive time for the UK and ongoing turmoil over Brexit, or the UK’s exit from the European Union. The fate of Brexit is still up in the air, and the upcoming election could impact the UK’s politics and economy for years to come. 

Trump arrives in London on December 2, and the general election is set to be held on December 12. The US president is expected to be met by protesters in the British capital. 

NATO throws Trump a bone to keep him happy and on his best behavior

Meanwhile, NATO on Thursday announced it’s agreed to reduce the US government’s contribution to the historic alliance’s modest central budget of $2.5 billion per year. The move is meant to appease Trump, who regularly complains that the US is contributing too much to the alliance, ahead of the summit.

Germany and the US will now equally pay 16% of NATO’s central budget, after the US previously contributed 22% (more than any other member). 

Separately, NATO members have already pledged to spend 2% of their GDP on defense by 2024, though only eight of 29 members have reached that benchmark and Trump often zeroes in on this as a point of criticism

With that said, Trump has often misrepresented how the NATO alliance functions and is funded, misleadingly claiming that other nations pay the US to defend it. Critics of the president feel his approach to the NATO alliance, among other foreign policy decisions, have served to the advantage of Russia as it fuels the war in Ukraine and mounts aggressive activities elsewhere. 

As Trump heads to London next week, the impeachment inquiry linked to his dealings with Ukraine will enter another phase as the House Judiciary Committee holds its first public hearing on the matter on December 4. In many ways, the president will be fighting on two fronts in the coming days. 

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