Hours later, though, Trump took a softer line during a face-to-face photo opp with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "And I am very happy that we are today unified in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany", she said in an arrival statement at the NATO Summit Wednesday, according to an English translation of her remarks. "It's very unfair to our taxpayer".
Trump is due to meet Putin on Monday in Helsinki.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who meets Trump at the summit, has given political backing to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to import more gas, despite criticism from other European Union governments.
Trump, who allies hope will sign off on a summit deal to step up the West's deterrence of Russian Federation, will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later on Wednesday.
Merkel bristled at the idea that the gas deal has left her country "captive" to Moscow.
In March, Germany agreed to allow Russia's energy-exporting monopoly Gazprom to build a pipeline through its waters. He recently suggested that his relationship with Putin is "easier" than his relationships with USA allies in Britain and Europe.
"Germany is just paying a little over 1 percent" of its GDP annually to the alliance's budget, Trump griped.
Trump kept going, saying previous American leaders have mentioned the 2 percent issue but either did not understand like he does or "didn't want to get involved".
He tweeted en route from Washington that European countries "want us to happily defend them through North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and nicely pay for it".
"I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we're supposed to be guarding against Russia, " Trump said, referring to the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
"That's exactly why all allies agree that those who are spending less than 2% have to spend more and that's exactly what we have started to do".
Trump's White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed the ask to reporters, claiming that it was not a new position for the USA president. The U.S.is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade. The U.S. intelligence community, backed by a Republican-led Senate panel, has definitively concluded that Kremlin meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump win. The House is expected to cast a similar, non-binding vote on Wednesday.
"I subscribe the view that we shouldn't be criticizing our president when he's overseas", said House Speaker Paul Ryan.
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