Sen. Angus King promoted NATO unity Monday morning after President Trump accused Germany of being “controlled” by Russia.
Mr. King, Maine independent, acknowledged during an interview on CNN’s “New Day” that Mr. Trump did have a good point in critiquing the oil deal between the NATO ally and Russia.
The senator said the pipeline is a separate issue from NATO and originated in 2002 when Russia was seen in a more positive light. He emphasized that “clearly it’s a concern.”
Mr. King did correct the president’s numbers on the issues. Mr. King said he believed the oil deal only accounted for 20 percent of Germany’s energy, while Mr. Trump claimed it was around 60 or 70 percent.
Mr. King also defended Mr. Trump’s calls for countries to pay more. The payments from fellow European allies to defense has been a problem plaguing presidents since Eisenhower, he explained.
However, Mr. King stressed that the president should focus on promoting NATO.
“The real overriding importance of this summit is unity in the face of newfound Russian aggression throughout Europe and the Middle East,” he said.
While Mr. King acknowledged the president had a point calling for member states to step up, the senator said the situation, while improving, shouldn’t become a divisive issue.
“It’s like turning a family squabble into divorce proceedings,” Mr. King said.
• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at email@example.com.
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