Trump, UK’s Cameron Discuss Ukraine, NATO Spending in Florida Meeting

REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump attends a watch party event to mark the Super Tuesday primary elections at his Mar-a-Lago property, in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. March 5, 2024.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron had dinner on Monday at the Republican presidential candidate’s Florida home where they discussed the Ukraine war and “the need for NATO countries to meet their defense spending requirements,” Trump’s campaign said on Tuesday.

The meeting kicked off a visit by Cameron to the U.S. during which he met Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Tuesday and afterward will press lawmakers in Congress to pass an aid package for Ukraine.

Over dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, the two men discussed “the upcoming U.S. and UK elections, policy matters specific to Brexit, the need for NATO countries to meet their defense spending requirements, and ending the killing in Ukraine,” Trump’s campaign said in a statement.

Speaking at a press conference alongside Blinken in Washington, Cameron said the dinner was in line with past precedent of government ministers meeting with opposition politicians but declined to say what specifically they discussed.

“(We) discussed a range of important geopolitical subjects,” Cameron said.

Trump has frequently taken aim at the failure of many of NATO’s 32 members to meet a defense spending target of at least 2% of gross domestic product. This has raised concern in Europe about the trans-Atlantic military alliance’s future if Trump beats incumbent President Joe Biden, a Democrat, in a November election.

In February, Trump sparked fierce criticism from Western officials for suggesting he would not protect countries that fail to meet the alliance’s defense spending targets, and would even encourage Russia to attack them. The U.S. military forms the core of the alliance’s military power.

European leaders have been reaching out to U.S. lawmakers, business leaders and think tanks as part of efforts to influence the Trump camp about defense spending, Europe’s role in U.S.-China relations, and aid to Ukraine.

A British Foreign Office spokesperson said on Monday that Cameron was meeting with Trump as part of “routine international engagement,” describing it as “standard practice for ministers to meet with opposition candidates.”

A British embassy spokesperson said Cameron would not be meeting Republican House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson due to scheduling issues. Last week, Cameron said he would urge Johnson to pass a $60 billion package of military aid for Ukraine, which has been held up for months.