Trump, In First Meeting With Merkel: ‘You Owe Me One Trillion Dollars’

CHARLEVOIX, CANADA - JUNE 9: In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office (BPA), German Chancellor Angela Merkel deliberates with US president Donald Trump on the sidelines of the official agenda on... CHARLEVOIX, CANADA - JUNE 9: In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office (BPA), German Chancellor Angela Merkel deliberates with US president Donald Trump on the sidelines of the official agenda on the second day of the G7 summit on June 9, 2018 in Charlevoix, Canada. Also pictured are (L-R) Larry Kudlow, director of the US National Economic Council, Theresa May, UK prime minister, Emmanuel Macron, French president, Angela Merkel, Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japanese deputy chief cabinet secretary, Shinzo Abe, Japan prime minister, Kazuyuki Yamazaki, Japanese senior deputy minister for foreign affairs, John Bolton, US national security adviser, and Donald Trump. Canada are hosting the leaders of the UK, Italy, the US, France, Germany and Japan for the two day summit. (Photo by Jesco Denzel /Bundesregierung via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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July 9, 2018 7:40 a.m.

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel made her first visit to meet with President Donald Trump shortly after his inauguration, she was greeted with an unexpected accusation, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

“You owe me one trillion dollars,” Trump reportedly told her, according to an official briefed on the session who spoke with the Journal. Trump was reportedly referencing what he estimated as the gap between the amount of money Germany was supposed to spend on its own defense under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) over the past 14 years, and what it’s actually paid for.

While Trump isn’t the first U.S. President to criticize NATO, or draw criticism from the global treaty group, he’s the the first to spark fears that the group will dismantle over his critical rhetoric.

News of the early 2017 comments to Merkel show Trump has been unwilling to budge on his stance that U.S. allies need to pay more toward their own defense, even since his initial meetings with world leaders as president.

Trump is set to travel to Brussels, Belgium this week to attend a summit with NATO leaders, a meeting that’s expected to be tumultuous. This will be the first time he’s interacted with U.S. allies in person since he butt heads with them on trade and pulled out of a joint statement last month at a meeting in Quebec. 

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