Lawmakers rebuke Trump for attacks on Germany, NATO allies at summit

Republican and Democratic lawmakers criticized President Donald Trump on Wednesday after he blasted European allies and called Germany "a captive of Russia" at the NATO summit in Brussels.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Cali., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the president's remarks were "an embarrassment."

"President Trump's brazen insults and denigration of one of America's most steadfast allies, Germany, is an embarrassment," Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement. "His behavior this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the President is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies."

Trump, who is in Brussels as part of week-long European trip, has repeatedly said that NATO member nations have taken advantage of the U.S. by not contributing adequate sums to their defense.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Mich., said Wednesday that the 29-member international alliance was "indispensable" and pledged to bring a resolution to the floor of the House to reiterate congressional support of NATO.

"I subscribe to the view that we should not be criticizing our president while he is overseas," Ryan said, "but let me say a couple of things — NATO is indispensable, it's as important today as it ever has been."

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President Trump attends 2018 NATO summit
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President Trump attends 2018 NATO summit
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One ahead of the NATO Summit, at Brussels Military Airport in Melsbroek, Belgium July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (L) at the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump (R) and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) are reflected in a mirror as they attend at a breakfast meeting with the NATO Secretary General and staff at the US chief of mission's residence in Brussels on July 11, 2018, ahead of a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C) arrives to attend the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit, in Brussels, on July 11, 2018. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP) (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C) shakes hands with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as he arrives to attend the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit, in Brussels, on July 11, 2018. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during his official arrival at the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman
U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a welcoming ceremony by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of a NATO summit at the Alliance?s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Paul Hanna
U.S. President Donald Trump is welcomed by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of a NATO summit at the Alliance?s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Paul Hanna
U.S. President Donald Trump is welcomed by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of a NATO summit at the Alliance?s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
France's President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump are seen at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018. Tatyana Zenkovich/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with French President Emmanuel Macron during the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May talk as NATO leaders pose for a family photo at the start of the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman
France's President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. President Donald Trump and Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg are seen at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018. Tatyana Zenkovich/Pool via REUTERS
France's President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan are seen at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018. Tatyana Zenkovich/Pool via REUTERS
Heads of governments of member countries of NATO at the opening ceremony of NATO summit 2018 in front of NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on July 11, 2018. (Photo by Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JULY 11: Heads of state and government, including (from L to R, first row) Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May pose for the family photo during the opening ceremony at the 2018 NATO Summit at NATO headquarters on July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. Leaders from NATO member and partner states are meeting for a two-day summit, which is being overshadowed by strong demands by U.S. President Trump for most NATO member countries to pay more towards funding the alliance. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
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Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Trump's comments were not in America's national interest and could weaken the alliance. He also raised concerns about the signal it could send before Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week in Helsinki.

"I'm very concerned that we have a rough meeting with NATO and then some kind of conciliatory meeting with Putin and it works against our country's national interest," he said.

Sen Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said he disagreed with the president's assertion and urged him to stop being so critical of foreign allies.

"I don't agree with that, Germany doesn't agree with that, they are strong people," he said. "I think you can be too critical of our counterparts."

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., defended Trump for being critical of NATO, saying that American taxpayers have been carrying France and Germany "on their backs" for years.

Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., also stood by Trump's comments.

"I think it's about time that somebody in the U.S. stood up to NATO," he said. "Also, the Europeans can be sort of arrogant at times, so it's good to knock them back."

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, insisted that the president's comments, however, hurt NATO's mission and helps adversaries like Russia.

"It's so upsetting to see that Putin, whose number one goal is to divide the West, and particularly in NATO, has an American president doing his work for him," Menendez said. "Putin made a great investment in the 2016 presidential elections and it's paying off for him in Brussels today."

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