Trump Threatens Merkel With Pipeline Sanctions, U.S. Troop Cut (Source Bloomberg)
Donald Trump upped his criticism of Germany on Wednesday as he threatened sanctions over Angela Merkel’s continued support for a gas pipeline from Russia and warned that he could shift troops away from the NATO ally over its defense spending.
Echoing previous threats about German support for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Trump said he’s looking at sanctions to block the project he’s warned would leave Berlin “captive” to Moscow. The U.S. also hopes to export its own liquefied natural gas to Germany. “We’re protecting Germany from Russia, and Russia is getting billions and billions of dollars in money from Germany” for its gas, Trump told reporters at the White House during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
The comments were the latest sign of how U.S.-German ties have eroded in recent years. The U.S. president has repeatedly rebuked Merkel’s government over the pipeline project, trade policies and defense spending. Germany, in turn, has criticized Trump’s moves to abandon international agreements, including on climate change and Iran.
Though he didn’t say which companies or governments could potentially face sanctions, Trump’s comments about the pipeline generated a swift response from Moscow, which said the American president was engaging in “nothing other than blackmail and a form of unfair competition,” according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.