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The set of “Morning Joe” was predictably appalled by Donald Trump’s early performance at the annual NATO summit this week, suggesting Wednesday that a highly public tirade Trump launched against Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was merely a performance for Vladimir Putin.
“It’s hard not to believe he wasn’t performing for Vladimir Putin, given how kind of overt that was,” said co-host Mika Brzezinski.
The moment flew by as a bit of off-the-cuff commentary after a a straight news report by channel reporter Kristen Welker. Joe Scarborough sat silent.
On Wednesday, Americans woke up to a fiery performance from President Trump on their Twitter and social media feeds. The billionaire with a long history of skepticism towards NATO, laced into Stoltenberg at a breakfast meeting, raising old concerns about allies not contributing more money towards collective defense and accusing Germany of being “controlled by Russia” because of their dependence on an oil and gas pipeline between the two countries.
"Germany is totally controlled by Russia," Pres. Trump tells NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg as they sit down together for bilateral breakfast ahead of Brussels summit. https://t.co/CmyplgrxzN pic.twitter.com/6RnFk8Drgs
— ABC News (@ABC) July 11, 2018
As European leaders sat mostly silent, Trump berated them for more than two minutes. He was evidently pleased enough with the moment to share it to his more than 50 million Twitter followers.
Bilateral Breakfast with NATO Secretary General in Brussels, Belgium… pic.twitter.com/l0EP3lzhCM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2018
The president has a long history of confrontation and strain at NATO. During last year’s summit, the billionaire infamously shoved Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusko Markovic in a moment that went mega mega viral.
Did Trump just shove another NATO leader to be in the front of the group? pic.twitter.com/bL1r2auELd
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) May 25, 2017
In advance of this year’s trip, European Council President Donald Tusk offered a pointed warning fro both Trump and his European counterparts.
”It is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem,” he said. ”Dear America, appreciate your allies. After all, you don’t have that many. And dear Europe, spend more on your defense, because everybody expects an ally that is well-prepared and equipped.”