President Donald Trump was right to point out that most NATO member states are not meeting their financial requirements for membership, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said Thursday, shortly before the president was to deliver remarks to leaders of a group he once called obsolete.
"You still have a situation where 23 of the 28 [members] are not paying two percent of their budget on defense, as required to be a member of NATO," Fleischer, who served under former President George W. Bush, told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program. "Trump was right to point it out. He should keep his foot on the gas and make 28 out of 28 pay their fair share."
Every president, from both parties, has been trying for decades to get other countries to pay their fair share, said Fleischer, but are polite about it, so the extra money never comes.
"You needed an outsider like Donald Trump to come in and break the mold," said Fleischer. "That's the only thing that's shaking them up and to make them think they should do it."
Meanwhile, Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, and now, Brussels, has been a "shining success," as he stuck to what he wanted to say and "had the pictures and the background to match."
The challenge now is doing the same thing domestically, said Fleischer.
"He needs to give policy speeches domestically, [to] travel around the country and give a speech about what tax reform means to this group and that group, and what fixing and repealing Obamacare [means]," said Fleischer. "And lay off the offensive tweets. You notice there have been none of that on this trip. And it's all to his good."
Fleischer said he also thinks it's "inevitable" that Trump will be changing out some of his staff once he comes back to the United States.
"When you read what's going on behind the scenes, you get the sense he is so frustrated that something has got to give," said Fleischer. "I'm in the mindset, let him have everybody around him that does it his way. He needs to be comfortable. He is the president."
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