Fact-checking Trump's tweets: Does Germany owe NATO 'vast sums of money'?

20 Mars, 2017, 20:05 | Auteur: Gerard Affre

Trump also received criticism from Ivo Daalder, a U.S. ambassador to NATO during the Obama administration, who in a series of tweets let the president know, "that's not how NATO works".

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rebuffed Trump over her country's commitment to meeting NATO funding commitments after the US President posted on Twitter Saturday that "Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defence it provides to Germany!"

But if what transpired in front of the cameras is any indication, the meeting was replete with more than its fair share of awkwardness.

Von der Leyen laid out Germany's contribution to the UN and European missions and said that it was wrong to associate the alliance's target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defence by 2024 solely to NATO.

The U.S. spends 3.6 percent of its GDP on NATO, while the organization's total spending per members' GDPs averages 2.4 percent.

The quip appeared to be another dig at the Obama administration, which was previously accused of wire-tapping the phone of the German Chancellor.

She also noted that NATO spending should not be the only criteria used to measure Germany's military efforts.

"You shouldn't be talking to me", Trump added.

The country's top-selling Bild newspaper said that was "improbable", saying that throughout the meeting, Trump did not once look Merkel in the eye.

GCHQ rejected the allegations against it as "nonsense". This is not a financial transaction, where Nato countries pay the US to defend them. Trump said, "At least we have something in common perhaps".

And then, Mr. President, America first, don't you think that this is going to weaken also the European Union?

Trump said that both countries must protect themselves from the threat.

Trump declined to answer questions about the situation before a meeting with the Republican Study Committee, according to the White House pool report. I speak with the President of the United States, who stands up for, as is right, American interests.

Richard Ledgett, deputy director of the NSA, told BBC News the idea that Britain had a hand in spying on Trump was "just crazy".