President Donald Trump came under fire for not shaking hands with Angela Merkel when the two met recently, but it was hardly a surprise.
The two couldn’t be any more different when it comes to their opinions on refugees and mass Muslim migration, with Trump obviously opposed, and Merkel in favor of resettlement and multiculturalism, presumably as a result of German collective guilt. Trump has made his opinion on Merkel’s stance quite clear, accusing her of ruining Germany when she was picked as TIME Magazine’s “person of the year.”
I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite They picked person who is ruining Germany
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2015
When referencing the Cologne New Year’s Eve sexual assaults, Trump said in March of 2016 “The German people are going to riot. The German people are going to end up overthrowing this woman [Angela Merkel]. I don’t know what the hell she is thinking.”
Among the other issues Trump has been pressing other nations on (including Germany) is a more equitable sharing of NATO spending, as the US currently is the biggest single spender, with 13 allies paying less than one percent of the budget each. And speaking of NATO, Trump had something of a gag-gift for Merkel at the end of their meeting that’s just being reported now.
According to The Independent, Angela Merkel will reportedly ignore Donald Trump’s attempts to extricate £300bn from Germany for what he deems to be owed contributions to Nato.
The US President is said to have had an ‘invoice’ printed out outlining the sum estimated by his aides as covering Germany’s unpaid contributions for defense. Said to be presented during private talks in Washington, the move has been met with criticism from German and Nato officials.
While the figure presented to the Germans was not revealed by either side, Nato countries pledged in 2014 to spend two per cent of their GDP on defense, something only a handful of nations – including the UK, Greece, Poland and Estonia – currently do. But the bill has been backdated even further to 2002, the year Mrs Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, pledged to spend more on defense.
Mr Trump reportedly instructed aides to calculate how much German spending fell below two per cent over the past 12 years, then added interest. Estimates suggest the total came to £300bn, with official figures citing the shortfall to be around £250bn, and with £50bn in interest added on.
One German government minister was quoted as saying that the move was “outrageous.” Perhaps yes, but you can’t help but find it amusing as well. No one seems to understand our president has a sense of humor.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]