Trump tweeted Saturday that "Germany owes vast sums of money to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!"
"There is no debt account at NATO", German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement on Sunday, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance's target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defense by 2024 exclusively to NATO.
But Trump insinuated on Saturday that Germany has short-changed the alliance.
Trump's messages came after Merkel, at a joint White House press conference, appeared to tweak the president about his criticisms of her and others on social media and elsewhere, including an interview in January calling Germany's open-border refugee policy a "catastrophic mistake".
"Defense spending also goes into United Nations peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to fight against IS terrorism", she said, according to a Reuters report.
How Did the Others React?
During the Obama administration, the U.S. Now it constitutes 28 member countries who offer defensive protection to each other in events of any hostile attack from external nations.
His administration has repeatedly pressed the allies to meet a pledge to spend two percent of GDP annually on defence by 2024. Merkel noted that Germany was committed to the 2% military spending goal during her visit to Washington. Of those, only the USA consistently hits the target. Probably from this point of view, Trump's describing U.S.'s situation to be an unfair one can be taken into consideration.
"None of our partners would understand it if we didn't manage to do our part while poorer countries have to tighten their belts to meet the target", Von der Leyen said.
In an interview with the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung newspaper to be published Monday, Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also hit back at Trump's comments, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported. Washington overall contributes almost 70 percent of the alliance's defense spending.
Clearly, defense biggies in the US that generate a substantial share of their revenues from global customers will be the direct benefactors of the situation.