The big news Wednesday concerned—who else?—the erratic, attention-hungry president of the United States, Donald Trump, who felt it wise to hijack a NATO summit, alleging that our ally Germany “is totally controlled by Russia”—a dubious claim that nettled Angela Merkel, who grew up in Soviet-controlled East Germany—and accusing other members of not holding up their end of the bargain financially.
“The mood here is a mix of concern, disappointment, anger, and disgust,” retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who previously led the U.S. Army’s European contingent and attended the NATO summit, told The Daily Beast’s Chris Dickey. A NATO official, meanwhile, informed The Daily Beast’s editor in chief, Noah Shachtman, “I expected bad, and I kept telling people to expect bad, but it is still surreal to see.”
Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, as is his wont, tackled the NATO debacle during his monologue Wednesday evening.
“Our president—the orange guy, Trump—is in Belgium right now at the NATO summit, fighting over how many ways they will split the check,” said Kimmel. “Things got off to a rocky start. They had a breakfast meeting with the NATO Secretary General [Jens Stoltenberg], where Trump complained that he wants other countries to spend more—for defense. Which… Donald Trump attacking others for not paying their fair share is ballsy. It’s basically the Trump business plan.”
Kimmel added, “He had especially harsh words for Germany. He repeatedly said Germany is ‘totally controlled by Russia,’ which is also a good one coming from him. He attacks Germany for making a deal with Russia—on his way to make a deal with Russia.”
The aforementioned Trump rant against Germany ended up going viral—thanks to the pained reaction of his chief of staff, John Kelly.
“Rolling his eyes, he couldn’t wait to get up,” observed Kimmel while playing the clip. “It was like he was on a blind date with a woman who turned out to be his cousin. So a lot of people noticed this—so many, in fact, that the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, felt the need to explain.”
Indeed, Huckabee Sanders claimed that “[Kelly] was displeased because he was expecting a full breakfast and there were only pastries and cheese.” Really.
“What in the world?” asked Kimmel. “Is this NATO or the Hometown Buffet, what’s going on? And who knew that John Kelly was so anti-continental breakfast?”