US President Donald Trump has publicly renewed a spat with Germany after returning from an awkward international summit in which he openly criticised his Nato allies.
In an early-morning tweet Trump attacked Germany’s spending on defence as well as the trade surplus its economy runs with the US.
He said: “We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change”.
The remarks come as the relationship between Germany and the US reaches its lowest point in recent decades. German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week said the days in which Europe could rely on other nations were over.
We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2017
German politicians reacted with outrage to Trump’s latest intervention. Martin Schulz, head of the Social Democrats and the major challenge to Chancellor Angela Merkel in upcoming elections, told reporters Trump was "the destroyer of all Western values", according to Reuters.
Trump last week accused Germany and other Nato allies of not paying their “fair share” in defence spending, in a speech in front of world leaders.
He also alarmed world leaders by not explicitly saying he backed Article 5 of Nato’s founding treaty, which commits member states to collective defence if one of them is attacked.
Nato members are theoretically committed to spending two per cent of GDP on defence, although in practice only five of 28 members (including the UK) currently hit this target.
Trump has also repeatedly criticised Germany its persistent trade surplus with the US. The Trump administration has become fixated with eliminating trade deficits, with top White House officials saying they will act to tilt the balance of trade back towards the US.