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Trump issues stern warning to Merkel on NATO day after 'GREAT' meeting

Jeremy Berke
trump merkel

(Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 17, 2017.REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he had a "great" meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House on Friday despite media reports to the contrary, and reiterated that Germany owes "vast sums" of money to NATO.

"Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel...," Trump tweeted on Saturday morning. "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!"

The two leaders discussed NATO, with Trump underscoring the need for Germany to contribute a higher percentage of their GDP to the cost of defense. 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."

NATO members have agreed to contribute spending of at least 2% of gross domestic product to their military, though Germany contributes only 1.2%. The US, on the other hand, contributes 3.6% — almost double the requirement. Trump, like President Barack Obama before him, has demanded that NATO members pay their agreed-upon share. 

Trump and Merkel also discussed trade, with Trump telling reporters that German negotiators have done "a far better job" than negotiators for the US. However, the US enters trade agreements with the European Union as a whole, rather than bilaterally with Germany alone. 

The two leaders displayed an at-times awkward demeanor toward each other. In one highly publicized moment, Trump appeared to snub Merkel's attempt at a handshake, though it's not clear if he heard her request

Merkel was at the White House on Friday to, in part, mend relations with Trump, who frequently criticized Merkel during the 2016 campaign. Trump accused Merkel of "ruining Germany" for allowing thousands of Syrian and other refugees into the country.

Here are the tweets:

 

 

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