Trump says the U.S. has a 'tremendous relationship with Germany' in tense face-to-face with Merkel at NATO hours after shredding her country's Russian pipeline project
- Trump unloaded on Germany once again as he arrived in Brussels
- He fumed about a 'massive' pipeline project that will send Russian energy directly to Germany
- He said Germany is 'totally controlled by Russia'
- Said Germany is paying 'just paying a little over 1 percent' of its GDP on military
- The White House says the two leaders will meet privately one-on-one
The 'pull-aside' that turned into a full-fledged meeting on Wednesday afternoon, with the German chancellor and President Trump briefly addressing the press as it concluded.
'We’re having a great meeting. We’re discussing military expenditure, we’re talking about trade. We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor. We have a tremendous relationship with Germany,' President Trump said.
After railing at Germany at a campaign rally and uncorking a tirade at his first NATO breakfast meeting, President Trump met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Belgium
'And I believe that our trade will increase and lots of other things will increase but we’ll see what happens,' President Trump added.
As reporters were led out of the room, the president said that he had discussed Germany's gas pipeline deal with Russia, although he did not elaborate.
Merkel gave little away in her remarks of the discussion that took place behind closed doors.
'We are partners, we are good partners and wish to continue to cooperate in the future,' she said.
The German leader said she was pleased 'to have this opportunity to be here for this exchange of views' which included the sharing of opinions on 'economic developments on issues such as migration and also the future of our trade relations.'
The White House initially said there would be no media coverage allowed of the meeting. In Washington, Trump frequently allows photographers and journalists see him and ask questions at the top of joint meetings.
It backtracked at the last minute and allowed reporters in for cordial remarks at the bottom of the event.
Trump also will meet this afternoon with French President Emanuel Macron.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump at the one-on-one meeting will reiterate what he said Wednesday morning, when he delivered a blistering attack on Germany.
'Germany is totally controlled by Russia,' he charged. 'I think its a very bad thing for NATO,' Trump said.
Seated across the table from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump vented about Germany for not meeting a 2 per cent spending commitment on defense.
TERSE TALKS: Trump fumed that 'Germany is a captive of Russia' and said the U.S. would 'have to do something' about a gas deal that's funneling billions into Moscow's economy
'We're protecting Germany. We're protecting France. We're protecting everybody, and yet, we're paying a lot of money to protect.'
Trump said that past presidents did not confront America's allies because they did not want to meddle in their affairs or they were blind to the problem.
'I think that these countries have to step it up — not over a 10-year-period — they have to step it up immediately,' Trump demanded. 'Germany is a rich country. They talk about they're gonna increase it a tiny bit by 2030. Well, they could increase it immediately tomorrow and have no problem,' he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels on Wednesday
Trump also complained about funding for the alliance at a Montana rally days before his trip.
'We're paying anywhere from 70- to 90-percent to protect Europe. And that's fine. Of course, they kill us on trade. They kill us on other things,' he proclaimed. 'So they want to protect against Russia, yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia and we're the schmucks paying for the whole thing,' Trump said.
Trump also complained about a Russia-Germany pipeline project that East European nations fear could leave them vulnerable to Moscow.
'So we’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that’s very inappropriate,' Trump said. 'And the former chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas.'
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