In Germany, President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of American troops had caused astonishment and criticism. But even in their own country – and even in their own party – there is massive opposition to the specifications from the Oval Office.
Leading US senators from both parties now want to prevent the controversial move by law. The group placed a budgetary requirement in the Senate before the defense budget was passed, the Republican Senator Mitt Romney’s office said on Monday (local time).
Budget funds should only be used for a deduction if the Defense Minister explains in a report to the Congress that this is in the interests of national security and does not endanger the security of the European NATO partners.
“The withdrawal of US troops from Germany would be a gift to Russia – and that’s the last thing we should do,” said former Republican presidential candidate Romney. Trump’s close confidante, Senator Lindsey Graham, also supported the move.
Senator: “Withdrawal does not make America any safer”
Democrat Chris Coons said: “Withdrawing nearly 10,000 soldiers from Germany without consulting the German government and our other European allies doesn’t make America any safer.” Democrat Jeanne Shaheen said that the presence of troops in Germany was in the mutual interest.
In the House of Representatives, too, there is opposition to withdrawal plans from both Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats also submitted an application there to prevent troops from Germany from leaving the household.
The household is far from being tied down
Trump can order the partial withdrawal as commander-in-chief of the armed forces – but it will take money to carry it out, which Congress must approve. Until the military budget is approved, there will probably still be compromises and deals, so Trump’s requests could still be blocked.
He wants to reduce the number of US troops in Germany from a good 34,500 to 25,000. With the partial deduction, he wants to punish Germany for what he considers to be insufficient defense expenditure.
NATO’s two percent target is that by 2024 allies will move closer to the goal of spending at least two percent of their gross domestic product on defense. Germany has increased spending significantly in recent years, but was still only at 1.38 percent in 2019. Trump in particular is continually criticizing the German government for this and accuses it of being under-committed.