29 May, 2017
It sounds unusual to characterize the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as a huge gun club, but the comparison can be useful in understanding the world's biggest military alliance.
Trump's comments will disappoint alliance leaders who had hoped for a public commitment from the USA president to NATO's security guarantees, which he called into question during his presidential campaign a year ago.
The discord was palpable even in body language.
Finally, as aghast fellow leaders whispered amongst themselves, Trump blasted them for owing "massive amounts of money", leaving allies back in the uncertain space they were previous year.
Trump indifferently shoved aside Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic - nearly like a bulldozer steamrollering past insignificant elements in its path - as he walked with leaders of various NATO countries during his Thursday visit to the organisation's new headquarters in Brussels.
The 28 member nations, plus soon-to-join Montenegro, will renew an old vow to move toward spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024.
The White House said "the United States and the European Union should deepen our strong economic relationship" and spoke of a need to protect us and EU industries from "unfair competition" - a shared concern coming, notably, from China. "We have to make up for the many years lost".
In a sign of growing frustration felt by EU leaders, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, speaking after meeting Trump in Brussels, defended European defense spending, insisting: "Europe is taking on greater responsibility on defense".
Instead of being insulted, he said he took the opportunity to thank Trump for supporting Montenegro's membership in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. "This is how wars get started", the source said. Other meetings over the two days will include discussions of global economy and climate, a meeting with small African nations - Trump will be seated between the leaders of Niger and Tunisia - and migration issues.
Afterwards, several surrounded Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who has emerged as the strongest counterweight to the president.
His first meeting with the Continent's leaders began with officials from the United States and Europe saying nothing to each other.
Inside, Trump ignored the questions again, mouthing "thank you" before dismissing reporters from the room.
Based on a statement from the White House, European leaders had expected that Trump would commit to the core mission of the alliance established in 1949 that bonds the United States and Europe based on the principle, known as Article 5, that an attack on one member state is an attack on all.
Some issues remain open, like climate and trade.
Tusk also said he did not feel he and Trump were on exactly the same page in terms of dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin, although they agreed on efforts to end conflict in Ukraine which the West blames on Moscow and which has resulted in both European Union and US economic sanctions on Russia.
"You know Mister President we have two presidents in the EU", Tusk told Trump as the men posed for cameras ahead of the talks.
"I am not going to go into details but there are many, many occasions upon which we have directly participated and other occasions benefited from information sharing between security agencies and at the highest levels", he said. "We will continue to collaborate and work together to ensure we do everything we can to keep citizens and communities safe".
However, EU officials believe Trump has come to appreciate more since taking office the value of European integration to US interests.
While in Belgium, Trump will unveil a memorial to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the only time in the alliance's history that the Article 5 mutual defense pledge has been invoked. Article 5 has been activated only once - after the 9/11 attacks.
British officials were fuming that information about the attack had surfaced in the U.S. press after it was shared with their American counterparts.