May 27, 2017

President Trump Says the US 'Must Be Paid More' to Defend Germany

20 March 2017, 01:34 | Winston Chapman

A montage of U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel

A montage of U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel

On Friday the two G7 leaders met for the first time in Washington.

The meeting comes a day after Mr Trump's proposed budget cuts to federal student grants, loans, and public education funding.

Trump spent much of 2016 bashing the chancellor, accusing her of "ruining" Germany for allowing an influx of refugees from Syria. At home, she's facing a tight reelection contest with Social Democrat Martin Schulz in Germany's September 24 election.

"I was gratified to know that the President underlined how important he thinks NATO", Merkel said. Trump said via Twitter on Saturday (18 March).

She'll be looking to Trump - who has said he wants to reset his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin - to ease concerns within Europe that the USA could abandon efforts to pressure Russia into changing course.

The summit may also rank among the trickiest for Merkel, an 11-year veteran of global diplomacy now meeting her third USA president.

"All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television", Trump said during Friday's news conference.

Mrs Merkel said Germany had committed to increasing its military spending to the previously agreed level of 2% of GDP for NATO's European members.

German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen rebuffed a recent allegation by U.S. President Donald Trump that Germany owes "vast sums" of money to the U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for its defense.

"So on trade, which had not been discussed at that point in the visit, the two leaders seemed to be speaking past one another, which will not be a reassuring message for Germany or for Europe", Anderson added. Though Trump had criticized NATO on the campaign trail, he reiterated his support for the the treaty at a press conference following the meeting, telling reporters that he isn't an "isolationist".

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Mr Trump emphasised in his comments that the United States military was "depleted" by the Obama administration - something he seeks to fix with a $54bn increase in funding - but it is "a very strong country".

A joint news conference will be held in the afternoon. So, if a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member country is ever attacked, the rest can help.

Mr Hermisson said he does not "foresee a transatlantic compromise on that topic which seems to be an ideological one for the new USA administration, and not one based on science".

Merkel however, appeared to ignore such arguments, which raises serious questions about Germany's independence, Werner noted.

"In the U.S., it will most likely depend on market forces, where i.e. renewables are competitive, and new coal plants are not, as well as on the continued climate related initiatives of cities and states", Mr Hermisson explained.

He tweeted: "Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory".

The upshot is that a sitting president attacked one of Washington's closest allies based on unsubstantiated comments that even Fox News has how distanced itself from.

"Trump made no reference whatsoever to the European Union, either in general terms or, more pointedly, on the specific issue of trade relations", said Anderson.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had to apologize to the United Kingdom for press secretary Sean Spicer's allegation that the GCHQ had spied on Trump Tower for Obama.

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