President Trump gave German Chancellor Angela Merkel a staff-created bill for NATO defenses estimated at £300 billion, The Times of London reported on Sunday.
Trump reportedly handed Merkel the invoice during her trip to Washington, D.C. earlier this month.
“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,” a German minister told the newspaper.
Merkel “ignored the provocation,” of the bill, the Times reported.
The White House disputed the reports on Sunday afternoon and told The Hill the story is false.
Trump during his presidential campaign railed against the NATO alliance and has called for member countries to increase defense spending to support the organization.
The Independent reported that the “invoice” listed a total, as estimated by Trump’s aides, to cover Germany’s unpaid contributions.
In 2014, NATO countries pledge to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense. The Independent reported that Trump told aides to calculate how much German spending fell below that 2 percent mark in the past 12 years — backdating the invoice to when Merkel’s predecessor was in charge — then add interest.
In a joint press conference with Merkel during her visit, Trump told reporters that he emphasized the United States’ commitment to NATO and the need for allies to increase defense spending.
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