A central irony behind Trump's rumored "threat" that he could withdraw or at least greatly reduce American troops stationed in Germany, who last month wrote to Angela Merkel of “growing frustration in the United States that some allies have not stepped up as promised” on defense spending, is that Germans don't actually want US troops on their soil to begin with, according to a new poll.
On Wednesday Trump slammed Germany from the moment he touched down in Brussels for expecting the US to foot the bill for Europe's security in the face of Russian aggression while Germany and others cut massive energy deals with Russian energy companies. In an exchange the president promptly posted on Twitter, he said Germany is "totally controlled by Russia" in reference to the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is to supply the country with Russian natural gas. "Germany is a rich country,"Trump said, implying it should increase spending on its own defense.
It appears the German public agrees with Trump on this point as a YouGov poll — the results of which were first published for the dpa news agency on the first day of the NATO summit — finds that Germans would actually welcome American troop withdrawal from their soil (though a policy of outright US withdrawal is not on the table this week, nor is expected to be broached... but with Trump, who knows?).
Screenshot of video of Wednesday's breakfast with NATO Secretary General
The poll found that "42 percent said they supported American withdrawal while just 37 percent wanted the soldiers to stay, with 21 per cent undecided."
Citizens polled who were part of outlier or non-establishment political parties tended to be most strongly in favor of an American military exit from Germany:
Voters for the left-wing Die Linke are particularly in favour of withdrawal, with 67 per cent backing it, as are supporters of the far-right AfD, on 55 per cent. Greens also back withdrawal by 48 per cent.
Less supportive of withdrawal are voters for the centre-right CDU, at 35 per cent, the SPD at 42 per cent, and the FDP at 37 per cent. —The Independent
Trump has lately berated other NATO member states for not living up to a 2014 pledge to reach two percent of GDP on defense by 2024, as only three European countries have reached the mark. Germany, which has had tense ties with the US in recent months, has already indicated it will be unable to meet that goal; Poland, however, has met the target.
Bilateral Breakfast with NATO Secretary General in Brussels, Belgium... pic.twitter.com/l0EP3lzhCM
A continued theme the president is expected to emphasize this week in Brussels is to urge other governments of the alliance to ...