CNN analyst corrects host after he dubiously credits Trump for increasing NATO spending

Ret. Gen. Michael Hayden: "The budgets that the president is praising for this year were all agreed by European Parliament several years ago”

From the July 12 edition of CNN's New Day:

Video file

MICHAEL HAYDEN (FORMER CIA & NSA DIRECTOR): Now we have this scene, which, frankly, borders on thuggery or thuggish behavior in order to browbeat the Europeans to do, well, what we're not sure of. And, oh, by the way, John, the tick up in NATO defense spending began in 2014 with the invasion of the Ukraine. We have five countries at 2 percent. There'll be eight in a few years, 18 in the current schedule, pre-summit, by 2024. And so we were already moving in the right direction without doing the things that happened in the last 36 hours.

JOHN BERMAN (HOST): General, you do call it, “thuggish,” you call his behavior, “thuggish.” Yet -- and you will speak to European leaders, Alastair here will admit that the defense spending has gone up, the president has been able to get better results than other U.S. presidents on this issue that all U.S. presidents dating back years have agreed with, which is that these European countries need to spend more in their own defense, and the president made the case in the campaign and as president that the United States was just paying too much, more than its fair share. 

HAYDEN: Yeah, and look, I've served in Europe. I know about burden-sharing, and I know how much more the Americans do and what we want our European allies to do more of over the years. I get all of that, but we began to move in the right direction several years ago before the [2016] election. Oh, by the way, the budgets that the president is praising for this year were all agreed by European Parliament several years ago. And so, I get it, if we're getting more, that's a good thing. But John, the most important currency is that were viewed as a benign super power in whom our allies could have confidence, and I don't think we helped that argument in the last two days.


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