Donald Trump has been branded a “wasteman” after he reportedly presented Angela Merkel with a bill for what he thought Germany “owed” Nato during her recent trip to the White House.
The bill, which was reportedly given to the Chancellor during private talks last weekend – was described as “outrageous” by one unnamed German minister.
All Nato countries have previously agreed to spend two per cent of GDP on defence spending but only five countries – the US, the UK, Greece, Poland and Estonia – are currently meeting that target.
Germany, which currently spends around 1.23 per cent, previously pledged to increase its defence spending in 2002 and it is believed that Mr Trump’s team calculated the amount Berlin has fallen short of the 2 per cent target from that point then added interest.
But the move has been condemned by many Americans who said the move showed Mr Trump failed to understand how Nato worked.
Former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton Robert Reich said: “Trump is an international embarrassment. To our allies around the world: He doesn’t represent most Americans, and we’re doing all we can.”
The alleged gesture came as Mr Trump tweeted that Germany owed the US and Nato “vast sums of money” for the “powerful, and very expensive, defence it provides to Germany”.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer subsequently denied that Mr Trump had handed the invoice to Ms Merkel.
Under the terms of Article 5 of the Nato agreement, member states must come to the aid of each other if one is subject to military attack.
It was originally signed in 1949 as a way to combat the dominance of the Soviet Union in Europe.
As tensions have increased between Russia and the West over its annexation of Crimea, its support for rebels in the Donbas region of Ukraine and its intervention in Syria, vulnerable Eastern European states have seen their defences bolstered by Nato troops.