Fake News: Donald Trump did not give Angela Merkel a $500B NATO invoice
Citing unnamed German government sources, British newspaper The Times of London reported Trump handed Merkel a NATO defence tab worth over £300 billion ($500 billion CDN) for NATO services during a private meeting in Washington earlier this month.
“The concept behind putting out such demands is to intimidate the other side, but the chancellor took it calmly and will not respond to such provocations,” the newspaper quoted its source as saying.
The Trump administration denied the newspaper’s claim. Michael Short, a White House spokesperson, told CNBC The Times reports was “false,” while White House Press Secretary told the Business Insider “no, this is not true” when pressed about the apparent invoice.
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Following the March 17 meeting, Trump did say Germany owed “vast sums of money” to NATO and the U.S. “must be paid more” for providing defence. Trump has said repeatedly that European allies need to meet their end of the bargain if they are to continue benefiting from the military alliance.
“Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” the president tweeted. “Nevertheless, Germany owes … vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”
Citing another unnamed source “close” to the German chancellor, The Times reported Merkel “ignored the provocation.”
“The president has a very unorthodox view on NATO defence spending,” the newspaper quoted the source as saying. “The alliance is not a club with a membership fee. The commitments relate to countries’ investment in their defence budgets.”
On Monday, Politico Europe reported a spokesperson for the German chancellor had denied the newspaper’s report of a NATO invoice.
“Reports that President Trump had presented the federal chancellor with a kind of bill with a concrete billion sum are not true,” Steffen Seibert said.
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