After all, you don't have that many. "And I am very happy that we are today unified in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany", she said in an arrival statement at the NATO Summit Wednesday, according to an English translation of her remarks.
Ahead of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, Trump sent letters to allies Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium blasting them for not spending enough on defense ― an oft-repeated criticism of the alliance.
"The former chancellor of Germany is head of the pipeline company that's supplying the gas", Mr. Trump said. "So we're supposed to protect you against Russian Federation, but they're paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation". His remarks appeared to be based on a deal Germany struck with Russian Federation that would bring gas from Russian Federation to Germany's Baltic coast.
"We're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said in the presence of reporters at a pre-summit meeting at the residence of the USA ambassador to Belgium. "It is good that we can now make our own decisions". We have a tremendous relationship with Germany.
"I just don't want us to be too friendly with them like he was with Kim Jong Un, although I supported that summit", Richardson said. "It was disgraceful, destructive, and flies in the face of the actual interests of the United States of America".
The confrontation stunned the leaders' senior advisers, including Trump's secretaries of defense and state, stunned.
In a bid to avoid a row, Stoltenberg replied: "Nato is an alliance of 29 nations and there are sometimes differences..."
But Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said he doesn't agree with Trump that Germany is "controlled" by Russian Federation. "After years of cutting defense budgets, they have started to add billions to their defense budgets".
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Previous year saw the biggest increase in defence spending in a generation, he said.
"Why was that previous year?"
"It's also because of your leadership, because of your carried message", Stoltenberg replied. "But other presidents never did anything about it because I don't think they understood it or they just didn't want to get involved".
"You tell me, is that appropriate?" he asked. "Germany is a rich country", he said. "But no other president brought it up like I bring it up.it's an unfair burden on the United States".
In a stunning back and forth at Wednesday morning's bilateral breakfast at the ambassador's residence in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg defended NATO's alliance as Trump continued to lob attacks on Germany. "But let me say a couple of things".
Soon after the breakfast, Trump tweeted out a video of himself criticizing Germany during the breakfast.
His comments come only hours before he's due to meet German chancellor Angela Merkel on the side lines of the summit in Brussels.
U.S. ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told reporters that Trump would also recommit to one of the founding articles of NATO - Article 5 - which holds that an attack on one member is an attack on them all.