"Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 percent, whereas the United States in actual numbers is paying 4.2 percent". "We're supposed to be guarding against Russian Federation, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation".
On the streets of Berlin, people were just shaking their heads. Mr. Trump on Wednesday said he wants ally nations to spend 4 percent of GDP on defense, double the 2 percent North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members have committed to paying by 2025.
"We are investing heavily in the German armed forces and other European countries too, because the armed forces need it".
Not even the United States - which spends more money on defence than any other nation in the world - meets Trump's new goal of annual spending of 4 per cent of nations' gross domestic product. "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany", he said. And you tell me if that's appropriate, because I think it's not.
Striking a strident tone at the summit, Trump's aspirational target of 4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) was above the United States own spending on defense.
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"What we have here is an alliance of necessity, not necessarily a love relationship", said Gienow-Hecht, whose university was established with American support in West Berlin during the Cold War.
Trump's tongue-lashing accelerated during a pre-summit breakfast, when he traded his usual long-distance Twitter attacks for a face-to-face confrontation with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. On 17 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump is demanding that Germany drop Nord Stream 2 as one of the conditions for a trade deal with Europe that would not include high tariffs on steel and aluminium. Germany is totally controlled by Russia, Trump said. "We are supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions dollars a year to Russia", Mr Trump said. "And it can't be explained, and you know that".
Environmental-conscious Germany is trying to reduce its reliance on coal and is phasing out nuclear power by 2022, so it hopes to use natural gas to partially fill the gap until the country's electricity grid can cope with fluctuating levels provided by renewable energy.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at the summit that Trump will have "pull-aside" meetings later in the day with Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Yet Trump did not seem to get that message.