The Independent reports that Donald Trump has delivered at least one physical bill for what he says is owed to the United States for the cost of NATO defense.
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In a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump reportedly presented her with a paper invoice for £300 billion. That amount, calculated by aides, represents an alleged £250 billion owed and another £50 billion in interest payments. It was calculated by White House aides at Trump’s behest; while NATO countries pledge to spend 2 percent of their nation’s GDP on defense, only a handful, including the United States, actually do.
German spokesman Steffan Seibert denied this claim.
“Reports that President Trump had presented the federal chancellor with a kind of bill with a concrete billion sum are not true,” he said at a press conference, according to Politico.
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The move was mocked and criticized by German and NATO officials, some of whom called the move “outrageous” and said Merkel would “ignore the provocation.” The move comes weeks after a contentious meeting between Trump and Merkel. The president still called the meeting a success on Twitter.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to reflect German spokesman Steffan Seibert’s comments.