WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of House Republicans on Tuesday urged President Donald Trump to reconsider his decision to reduce the number of US troops in Germany, saying his presence is the backbone of NATO’s deterrence against Russian aggression.
FILE PHOTO: Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) speaks at the Capitol Hill National Security Forum at the United States Capitol in Washington, United States, June 21, 2018. REUTERS / Aaron P. Bernstein
The six lawmakers, led by Republican Michael McCaul and House of Representatives representative Adam Kinzinger of the House of Representatives, said in a letter that the US military footprint. USA In Germany it served Washington’s strategic interests beyond Europe and in the Middle East and Africa, which have seen the growing influence of Russia and China.
All six signatories are members of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Trump said earlier this month that he would reduce the number of troops in Germany to 25,000, blaming the close ally for failing to meet NATO’s defense spending target and accusing him of unfairly exploiting trade.
His plans, which would mean a reduction of approximately 9,500 troops, immediately sparked the wrath of Democrats and their fellow Republicans.
“This is not the time to take measures that … could lead our NATO allies and partners to doubt the United States’ commitment to our collective security,” the lawmakers wrote.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lawmakers also warned that Moscow and Beijing sought to sow divisions between Washington and its allies, and said they were concerned to see that many United States allies had not been consulted on the plans.
Trump accused Germany of being “delinquent” in its payments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and promised to stick with the plan unless Berlin changes course. NATO in 2014 set the goal that each of its 30 members should spend 2% of GDP on defense. Most, including Germany, do not.
The letter was also signed by representatives Ann Wagner, Brian Fitzpatrick, John Curtis and Joe Wilson.
Report by Patricia Zengerle; Written by Humeyra Pamuk; Peter Cooney and Jonathan Oatis Edition