During their recent meeting in Washington, President Donald Trump allegedly handed German Chancellor Angela Merkel an “invoice” for money Germany owes for NATO defenses.
According to the Times of London, the staff-made invoice was for £300 billion or about $374 billion, which Germany described as “outrageous.”
“The concept behind putting out such demands is to intimidate the other side, but the chancellor took it calmly and will not respond to such provocations,” one German minster told the Times.
In addition, Merkel “ignored the provocation” of the bill, according to the Times.
Though the details of the invoice aren’t known, reports suggest that it was for $312 billion in money owed for unpaid NATO defenses and $62 billion in interest. The invoice comes in response to the 28-nation NATO alliance renewing a pledge to contribute 2 percent of GDP to the NATO defense fund in 2014. According to reports last summer, only five nations have followed through on that pledge: the U.S., Great Britain, Estonia, Poland and Greece.
According to the Independent, Trump told his aides to calculate how much Germany’s contributions fell below the 2 percent threshold dating back to 2002, then add interest. Trump backdated the bill to the date when Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, pledged to spend more on NATO defense.
The invoice comes after Trump’s rocky meeting with Merkel earlier this month. That meeting was characterized by Trump’s refusal to shake Merkel’s hand in the Oval Office. During a joint press conference with Merkel, Trump told the press that he emphasized the importance of Germany fulfilling their defense commitment to NATO.
Following the meeting, Trump tweeted that he had a “great” meeting with Merkel.