Donald Trump wants NATO to take more responsibility in the Middle East, and said Thursday that he proposed the organization change its name to NATOME.
When asked at the end of a briefing where the administration announced its proposed National Environmental Policy Act regulations about NATO, Trump says he believes they should be doing more in the hotly contested region.
‘I spoke to Secretary General yesterday and we had a great conversation. He was very – I think he was actually excited by it. And I actually had a name: NATO, right, and then you have M-E – Middle East. You’d call it NATOME, I said, ‘What a beautiful name, NATOME,’ Trump said, recalling his conversation with the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Jens Stoltenberg.
‘I’m good at names, right?’ Trump praised himself.
‘USMCA, like the song YMCA,’ he said in reference to the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement name’s similarity to the 1978 hit. ‘Everybody – nobody could remember remember USMCA, I said, ‘Think of the song YMCA.’ Now everybody says it.’
Donald Trump said Thursday that he wants NATO to expand to take more responsibility in the Middle East, and said he had an idea to rename the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to NATOME to include the region
The president also said that North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (pictured) is his ‘biggest fan in the whole world’
‘They don’t remember the previous name of the bad deal, OK, commonly known as NAFTA. If you add the two words Middle East at the end of it, because that’s a big problem, that’s a big source of problems. And NATOME, doesn’t that work beautifully… Think of that – NATO plus ME.’
NATOME phonetically is said neigh-tow-me.
While addressing the nation on Wednesday regarding the escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran, Trump said NATO had to do more to ease the situation in the Middle East.
While answering reporters’ questions Thursday, Trump said he would prefer more NATO personnel in Iran and less U.S. troops.
‘Yeah,’ he said about more NATO people working there, ‘as opposed to us, to be honest with you, because this is an international problem. And we can come home, or largely come home, and use NATO.’
‘This is an international problem,’ he continued. ‘So I think that NATO should be expanded and we should include the Middle East, absolutely. We pay for a big percentage of NATO. And by the way, if you look at and speak to Secretary General Stoltenberg – who’s doing a terrific job by the way – he will tell you that I raised $130 billion more than they were getting.’
Trump also claimed Stoltenberg is his biggest fan because of the money he’s brought in for NATO.
‘I came in, I said, ‘You got to pay folks, got to pay. We’re working with you, we’re protecting you, we’re a part of this. You’ve got to pay. We don’t want to be the fools like we have been for so many years.’ So we raised $130 billion almost immediately. We had a meeting with all of the countries.’
Trump also praised himself during the White House briefing for comuning up with clever names, including for the USMCA for the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, which he said could be linked and remembered by the song ‘YMCA’
‘I mean I can imagine that they don’t like me as much as Obama and other people. But they’ve got to pay. We’re protecting, you’ve got to pay,’ he continued.
‘In fact my biggest fan in the whole world is Secretary General Stoltenberg because he can’t believe it,’ Trump boasted. ‘And now he just announced $530 billion we’ve got under my watch. So we’re in good shape with that whole situation. And I think NATO should be helping us now with the Middle East. Having an international flavor there is good.’
Tensions between Tehran and Washington D.C. reached a head last week when Trump ordered a drone strike on an Iraqi airport that took out Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
The attack was directed after protesters who support Iran-backed Shia militia on New Years Eve stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which has never been breached before.
Iran responded to Soleimani’s death by sending almost two dozen ballistic missiles at bases in Iraq that held U.S. troops. No Americans were killed or injured.