>> President Donald Trump's, first ever, summit with Vladimir Putin next week, might seem one of the most daunting and encounters of his presidency so far, but apparently Trump doesn't see it that way. As he left the White House for a week long trip to Europe, Trump said, compared to his planned meetings with NATO leaders he's clashed with, and protests awaiting him in the UK, facing the perennial US rival may be a relative walk in the park.
>> So I have NATO, I have the UK which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all, who would think?>> On Tuesday, European Counsil President, Donald Tusk, delivered a sharp rebuke to Trump, who has scolded NATO allies for not spending more on defense.
>> The America appreciate your allies, after all, you don't have that many.>> The July 16th meeting with Putin comes at a time when US-Russia ties, by Trump's own account, have fallen to one of the lowest points since the Cold War. Battered by Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 elections, which Moscow denies, its intervention in the war in Syria, the 2014 annexation of Crimea, and the nerve agent poisonings in the UK which Russia also denies.
Despite all of that, Trump, who's often praised Putin, on Tuesday declined to call Russia an American enemy.>> As far as I'm concerned, a competitor. The competitor.>> On Monday, the New York Times reported that Trump had called some of his own aids stupid in a phone call with Putin after the Russian leader's re-election in March.
Trump made the comment after Putin reportedly complained that Trump's aids had tried to prevent the two leaders from talking, telling Putin quote, those are stupid people, you shouldn't listen to them. As Trump arrives in Brussels ahead of the NATO Summit, America's European allies are hoping he will listen to their concerns about Russia, which they view not as a competitor, but is a growing threat to their security.