handelsblatt exclusive

German Defense Minister to Trump: ‘NATO is Not a Deal’

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech, in which he rejected the political establishment and called for an “America first” foreign policy.

“They were harsh words, not only for the world community but also for the former presidents who were present,” Ms. von der Leyen told Handelsblatt in an interview.

The German defense minister warned Mr. Trump that he would need allies to solve global challenges and cautioned him against treating the trans-Atlantic alliance like a business deal.

“NATO is not a deal, trust cannot be bought,” Ms. von der Leyen said.

Mr. Trump has dismissed NATO as obsolete and has called for U.S. allies to pay more for their own defense. Ms. von der Leyen said Europeans are ready to contribute more to defense and expressed confidence that trans-Atlantic ties will remain strong under a Trump presidency.

“The tone will become rougher, but the relations to America are strong,” she said.

Read the full interview in Handelsblatt Global.

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