Trump attends NATO summit

By Meg Wagner, James Masters and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 6:51 a.m. ET, July 13, 2018
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5:09 a.m. ET, July 12, 2018

Trump returns to NATO

By Jeremy Diamond

Leaders from NATO member and partner states are meeting for a two-day summit in Brussels.
Leaders from NATO member and partner states are meeting for a two-day summit in Brussels. Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is returning to NATO headquarters on Thursday after rattling allies with provocative and insulting comments during the summit's first day.

Some of the closest US allies were still reeling from Trump's diatribe accusing Germany of being "a captive of Russia" and insistence that "delinquent" allies increase defense spending "immediately." But the President isn't likely to face vocal or widespread hostility until later in the day on Thursday, when he heads to London for his first visit to the United Kingdom as President, where mass protests have been organized.

7:48 p.m. ET, July 11, 2018

Trump tweets: "Pipeline dollars to Russia are not acceptable!"

From CNN's Allie Malloy

President Trump is continuing his late night tweeting from Brussels, and his criticism of NATO countries.

It is 1:33 a.m. local time, and Trump just tweeted:

Some background: Trump accused Germany on Wednesday of being a "captive" of Russia because it buys energy from Moscow. He went on to complain that the United States is expected to "defend them against Russia," despite Germany making "billions of dollars" in energy payments to Moscow.

Trump's comments were a remarkable criticism for a US president to make about a close US ally and is likely to increase tensions between the US and its European allies. Indeed, while Trump singled out Germany, he also noted that "numerous" NATO countries have made pipeline deals with Russia.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen preemptively rebuffed concerns about any German "dependency" on Russia, telling CNN's Christiane Amanpour Germany has "a very diverse mix of energy supplies."

7:05 p.m. ET, July 11, 2018

What Trump's first day at the NATO summit looked like

President Trump just wrapped up his first day at the NATO summit, where he met with world leaders during a series of meetings.

At a pre-summit meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump started off the day by accusing Germany of being a "captive of Russia" in a scathing attack over a gas deal.

Trump later sat down with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and said he had a "tremendous relationship" with Germany.

He also met with French President Emmanuel Macron and praised him for "a terrific job."

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron during their bilateral meeting, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.
President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron during their bilateral meeting, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

NATO members, including Trump, agreed to bolster the alliance's deterrence and defense capabilities to counter Russian threats. They also took a group photo.

President Donald Trump holds his hand to his face as he says something to other heads of state and governments, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, gathered for a group photo at the evening reception and dinner at the 2018 NATO Summit on July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.
President Donald Trump holds his hand to his face as he says something to other heads of state and governments, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, gathered for a group photo at the evening reception and dinner at the 2018 NATO Summit on July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

Then, NATO members sat down for a formal dinner at the end of the day.

President Donald Trump looks at British Prime Minister Theresa May during a dinner of leaders at the Art and History Museum at the Park Cinquantenaire in Brussels on July 11, 2018.
President Donald Trump looks at British Prime Minister Theresa May during a dinner of leaders at the Art and History Museum at the Park Cinquantenaire in Brussels on July 11, 2018.

6:43 p.m. ET, July 11, 2018

Theresa May says the UK will remain a strong US ally 

From CNN's David Wilkinson in London and Deborah Bloom in Atlanta

US President Donald Trump (L) poses with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May during a family photo ahead of the opening ceremony of the NATO in Brussels, on July 11, 2018.
US President Donald Trump (L) poses with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May during a family photo ahead of the opening ceremony of the NATO in Brussels, on July 11, 2018.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is praising the relationship between the US and the UK Wednesday, following a tense NATO summit in Brussels and ahead of President Trump's visit to London. 

“There is no stronger alliance than that of our special relationship with the US and there will be no alliance more important in the years ahead,” she said in a statement released by 10 Downing Street Wednesday. 

"As two nations – we are safer, more prosperous and more creative when we work together," May added. "I am looking forward to this week’s important discussions.”

Trump is expected to arrive in London at 8:00 a.m. ET Thursday. 

5:00 p.m. ET, July 11, 2018

President Trump and the first lady have returned to their hotel for the night

First lady Melania Trump (L) holds hands with President Donald Trump ahead of a working dinner in Brussels on July 11, 2018, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit.
First lady Melania Trump (L) holds hands with President Donald Trump ahead of a working dinner in Brussels on July 11, 2018, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump left their dinners about an hour and five minutes later than expected.

The President and first lady returned to the US chief of mission residence in Belgium for the night.

3:23 p.m. ET, July 11, 2018

3 European diplomats weigh in on Trump’s NATO comments

From CNN's Michelle Kosinski

President Donald Trump gestures as he arrives for a working dinner in Brussels on July 11, 2018, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit.
President Donald Trump gestures as he arrives for a working dinner in Brussels on July 11, 2018, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit.

Three senior European diplomats from key allies had mixed reactions today about President Trump's criticism of Germany.

Ahead of the NATO summit, Trump accused Germany, a close US ally, of being "a captive of Russia." He also demanded all NATO members increase their defense spending.

One senior diplomat said Trump's performance today was "beyond belief."

“It’s like the world gone crazy this morning," the diplomat said.

Another senior European diplomat said his remarks on Germany are "very confusing."

The senior diplomat continued:

"The attacks before, and now this tremendous stuff today. It doesn’t make any sense. We’re still in the process of analyzing it. We are thinking two things: First, that this is already part of the whole midterm game. Targeting (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel, especially her immigration strategy in the past, is exactly what he wants to attack. She has allowed in a lot of immigrants. He’s found that these attacks work, and can produce a great deal of damage. Some will make this a big issue. And second, the President is under attack himself for the way he treats (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. And the way he may treat Putin in Helsinki. He wants to use Germany and this pipeline issue as part of his strategy of blaming others.”

A third diplomat agreed with Trump that NATO allies "need to live up to their commitments and increase defense spending."

"But another primary objective of this summit is to demonstrate alliance unity before the Helsinki meeting," the diplomat said. "This would only increase the President’s negotiating leverage with President Putin.”

2:58 p.m. ET, July 11, 2018

Here's what Melania Trump wore to the NATO dinner tonight

From CNN's Kate Bennett

(Left to right) Belgian Prime Minister's partner Amelie Derbaudrenghien, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, President Trump and Melania Trump arrive for the NATO dinner
(Left to right) Belgian Prime Minister's partner Amelie Derbaudrenghien, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, President Trump and Melania Trump arrive for the NATO dinner BENOIT DOPPAGNE/AFP/Getty Images

Melania Trump is wearing a white, sleeveless, tea length Elie Saab cocktail dress to a NATO summit dinner tonight.

Her dress is made of sheer tulle with white yarn embroidery, and sells online for $7,450. Saab is Lebanese and shows his collections in Paris.

There are two dinners tonight: one for leaders and one for spouses.

The NATO dinners are being held at the Musees Royaux D’Art et Histoire (Art and History Museum). The chef for the dinner is Sang Hoon Degeimbre. He is known for making meals using locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. His restaurant garden produces about 90% of the vegetables, fruits and herbs it uses. 

2:09 p.m. ET, July 11, 2018

Trump says he's having a "very good time at NATO"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Asked how the first day at the NATO summit was going, President Donald Trump said it was “very good.”

"Very good. Beautiful. Really well," Trump said, as he and first lady Melania Trump walked into dinner.

He added that he's having a “very good time at NATO.”

1:32 p.m. ET, July 11, 2018

GOP senator lashes out at Trump's "damaging" NATO comments

From CNN's Manu Raju

 Toya Sarno Jordan/Getty Images
 Toya Sarno Jordan/Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker raised deep concerns that Trump is trying to “tear down” NATO and “punch our friends in the nose.”

While he said he supports the notion of getting NATO countries to pay more, he told CNN that Trump’s rhetoric is “damaging to us.”

“Sometimes the rhetoric to me is just damaging to us — and damaging to others unnecessarily ... But I think there are ways of communicating with our friends ... And sometimes it feels like we punch our friends in the nose and hold our hand out to people who are working strongly against us like Putin and Russia.”

Asked if Trump is damaging the US around the world, Corker said: “It’s palpable the concern people have as to our reliability ...  I believe that America’s leadership around the world has made the world safer for Americans and has made the world a better place ... And when I see that leadership, uh, diminishing, and us trying to break apart alliances that we created, it troubles me."