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One day after Merkel meeting, Trump says Germany owes NATO and U.S. ‘vast sums’ One day after Merkel meeting, Trump says Germany owes NATO and U.S. ‘vast sums’
Reuters President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their joint news conference in the White House on Friday. President Trump had... One day after Merkel meeting, Trump says Germany owes NATO and U.S. ‘vast sums’


Reuters


President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their joint news conference in the White House on Friday.

President Trump had a parting message for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

On Saturday, one day after their meeting and press conference in the White House, Trump tweeted, “Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 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!”

All of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 28 members contribute according to an agreed cost-share formula, based on gross national income, which represents a small percentage of each member’s defence budget. Trump has previously called NATO, an intergovernmental military alliance, “obsolete,” and has said the organization needs to do more to fight terrorism.

Last week, NATO said its members have boosted spending on defense and would focus more on fighting terrorism. The organization said that 23 member nations increased military spending in 2016, but added that defense budgets in a majority of European countries remain below the NATO standard that they should spend 2% of their gross domestic product on their military.

Ivo Daalder, the former U.S. ambassador to NATO under President Barack Obama, tweeted a response in a series of nine missives: “Sorry, Mr. President, that’s not how NATO works. The U.S. decides for itself how much it contributes to defending NATO. This is not a financial transaction, where NATO countries pay the U.S. to defend them. It is part of our treaty commitment.”

During Friday’s news conference with Merkel, Trump also repeated his allegation that former Obama tapped his phones in October and cited a scandal involving the National Security Agency reportedly listening in on Merkel’s cell phone during the Obama era. “As far as wiretapping by this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps,” Trump said.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, issued a joint statement last month that there were “no indications” that Trump Tower, the Manhattan residence before he won the presidency and where his New York offices are based, was under any form of government surveillance.



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