Washington – Berlin owes “vast sums of money” to NATO and the United States for the defence of Germany, US President Donald Trump said Saturday on Twitter, a day after a White House meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Trump has a history of questioning NATO and complaining about alliance members’ failure to meet the defence spending target of 2 per cent of gross domestic product.
“Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” he tweeted. “Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO, & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump shake hands after a White House press conference on Friday. The press conference touched upon defence, trade and wiretapping allegations, with Trump insisting on better trade deals and more support for NATO. Michael Kappeler/dpa Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa
The right-wing populist Trump has set a pattern of firing off inflammatory messages on Twitter, particularly on weekends, since taking office January 20.
In a joint press conference Friday with Merkel, Trump said that in their luncheon meeting he had “reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO, as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defence. Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years, and it is very unfair to the United States. These nations must pay what they owe.”
Trump said that he thanked Merkel for “the German government’s commitment to increase defense spending and work toward contributing at least 2 per cent of GDP.”
At the White House, Merkel said she and Trump discussed Berlin’s contributions to NATO and the continuing German military participation in Afghanistan.
Trump acknowledged the German role: “I want to thank the chancellor for her leadership in supporting NATO and its efforts in Afghanistan. This has come at significant cost, including the lives of over 50 German soldiers whose sacrifice we greatly honour.”