Published: Sun, March 19, 2017
Global | By Doris Richards

Donald Trump claims Germany owes North Atlantic Treaty Organisation 'vast sums'

Donald Trump claims Germany owes North Atlantic Treaty Organisation 'vast sums'

During a photo op before the press conference in Oval Office, US president Donald Trump refused to shake hands with Angela Merkel.

"At least we have something in common, perhaps", Trump said in response to a question from a German reporter, referencing a secret program revealed by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

The reporter asked Trump if he thought his "America First" policy would weaken the European Union, and why "he was so afraid" of what he called "fake news", in light of his own unsubstantiated claim that former President Obama had ordered surveillance on him.

And then Merkel made a face. He repeated those claims with Ms. Merkel by his side. She's tough, she has three terms under her belt and is headed for a fourth, and she has an agenda she's ready to unfold before her host, Donald Trump.

That comment referenced WikiLeaks' revelations that American intelligence officials had listened in on Merkel's cellphone conversations during President Obama's administration, an global embarrassment that rocked the U.S.

Though he said many countries owe "vast sums of money", Trump declined to identify Germany as one of them. German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel later referred to Trump as "the pioneer of a new authoritarian and chauvinist global movement".

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"Nevertheless, Germany owes...", he said in the same tweet leading into the next, "...vast sums of money to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!"

'That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox.

"There are many plants and factories coming back to the United States", he said.

Trump also reaffirmed the United States' "strong support" for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation but reiterated his position that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies need to "pay their fair share" for the cost of defense. I was in Tennessee [on Wednesday March 15], we had a massive crowd. "And this is obviously, where we have an exchange of views about it, but my position is the one I've just set out for you".

"I can get around the media when the media doesn't tell the truth, so I like that", Trump said.

Trump has questioned the relevance of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and said other countries need to contribute more.

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