President Trump said Monday he is ordering a major reduction in US troop strength in Germany, a move widely criticized by members of his own party as a gift to Russia and a threat to US national security. "We're putting the number down to 25,000 soldiers,” Trump said at the White House. The US currently has about 34,500 troops in Germany — far fewer than during the Cold War, when Germany was the central focus of American and NATO efforts to deter invasion by the former Soviet Union. In recent decades, Germany has hosted key American military facilities and provided a transit point for troops deploying to and from the Middle East. Trump faulted Germany for failing to pay enough for its own defense, calling the long-time NATO ally “delinquent," the AP reports.
"We're protecting Germany and they're delinquent. That doesn't make sense," the president said, referring to Germany's failure thus far to attain a goal set by all NATO members in 2014 to spend at least 2% of gross national product on defense by 2024. Germany says it hopes to reach 2% by 2031. Trump suggested his troop withdrawal decision was intended to punish Germany, noting that the presence of American troops is a boost to local economies. "Those are well-paid soldiers,” he said. “They live in Germany. They spend vast amounts of money in Germany. Everywhere around those bases is very prosperous for Germany. So Germany takes, and then on top of it they treat us very badly on trade." Some 22 Republican members of the House Armed Service Committee have urged Trump to rethink the move.
(Read more President Trump