German Defense Ministry says "no debt at NATO" after Trump's tweets

Cheryl Sanders
March 20, 2017

President Trump reiterated his stance that European allies need to meet their end of the bargain to continue benefiting from the military alliance.

Trump's tweet from his Florida resort, where he is spending the weekend, came the day after his first meeting with Germany's leader.

At a joint news conference, Trump said some North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries owe "vast sums" in dues, which is "very unfair to the United States".

Mr Spicer was very apologetic when confronted by Mr Darroch at a White House dinner on Thursday, the Western diplomat said. "The negotiators for Germany have done a far better job than the negotiators for the United States", Trump said. Germany spends about 1.2 percent on defence now. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is said to plan to use his debut at Group of 20 talks starting on Friday in Baden-Baden, Germany, to insist that the U.S. won't tolerate countries that use currency devaluation to gain an edge in trade.

The president has been deeply critical of foreign trade and national security agreements but suggested he was only trying to revise trade deals to better serve United States interests, rather than pull back from the world entirely. The U.S. trade deficit with Germany was $64.9 billion a year ago, the lowest since 2009, according to the Commerce Department.

NATO's finances featured high on the agenda Friday when Trump had his first face-to-face meeting with Merkel at the White House.

But Trump also tried to distance himself from White House allegations that the British spy service GCHQ might have wiretapped Trump at Obama's behest - something the GCHQ called "nonsense" in a rare public statement.

Merkel arrived in Washington with an entourage that included German business executives to emphasize the important economic ties between the nations. She said the "success of Germans has always been one where the German success is one side of the coin and the other side of the coin has been European unity and European integration".

Some Republicans in Congress said Mr Trump should retract his claims, with Charlie Dent calling the accusation against Britain "inexplicable" and Mr Trump's accusation against Mr Obama unfounded.

In an interview with the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung newspaper to be published Monday, Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also hit back at Trump's comments, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported. "That is our task respectively".

But when they posed for photographers in the Oval Office later, Trump appeared to ignore Merkel's suggestion that they shake hands in front of the cameras.

The meetings at the White House included discussions on fighting the Islamic State group, the conflict in Afghanistan and resolving Ukraine's conflict, all matters that require close cooperation between the US and Germany.

Other reports by iNewsToday