Trump says ready to help some NATO states buy US arms

BRUSSELS, July 12 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was ready to help smaller NATO countries to buy U.S. weapons as he pushed them to spend more on their own defense.

SEE ALSO: President Trump reasserts his 'very stable genius' claims following NATO summit

Speaking after a NATO summit, at which he said nations had agreed new spending pledges, Trump said some less wealthy members had asked during meetings in Brussels if he could help them buy U.S. arms equipment, but did not name the countries.

Asked about pressures on countries with weaker finances, he said, "We have many wealthy countries with us today but we have some that aren't so wealthy and they did ask me if they could buy the military equipment, and could I help them out, and we will help them out a little bit," he told a news conference.

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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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"We are not going to finance it for them but we will make sure that they are able to get payments and various other things so they can buy - because the United States makes by far the best military equipment in the world: the best jets, the best missiles, the best guns, the best everything."

Trump claimed a personal victory at the summit after telling European allies to increase spending or lose Washington's support.

The White House has been pushing a “Buy American” initiative which aims to help drum up billions of dollars more in arms business.

The initiative has raised concerns in Europe, where some see increased weapons sales as a key goal of Trump's repeated calls for NATO members to increase their military spending.

Trump did not draw a direct link between weapons sales and his efforts to persuade other NATO countries to correct shortfalls in defense spending below NATO targets, but vaunted the benefits of U.S.-made defense equipment.

"Everybody wants to buy our equipment... So we are helping some of those countries get on line and buy the best equipment."

Trump listed the top U.S. arms makers, Lockheed Martin Corp , Boeing Co and Northrop Grumman Corp by name.

Other U.S. companies that stand to benefit from the U.S. arms sales push include missiles maker Raytheon Co and General Dynamics Corp, which builds warships and other military equipment. (Reporting by Tim Hepher, Editing by William Maclean)

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