U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pose for a photograph prior to a bilateral meeting on the eve of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, Thursday, July 6, 2017.

Matthias Schrader (Associated Press)

NATO leaders entered a special emergency session after President Donald Trump reportedly spoke very bluntly about his demands that the countries spend more on defense.

During the summit, Trump reportedly broke diplomatic protocol by calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel by her first name, saying “Angela, you need to do something about this,” a source told Reuters.

Leaders of Azerbaijan and Georgia, non-NATO members, were asked to leave for the emergency session.

Trump singled out Germany on Wednesday when he accused them of being “totally” controlled by Russia because Russia provides a large share of their oil and natural gas. Merkel fired back that Germany was independent and a strong NATO ally.

“The language was much tougher today,” a source told Reuters. “His harshest words were directed at Germany, including by calling her Angela –‘You, Angela.'”

Trump emerged from the session to make an unscheduled statement where he said he had communicated to other NATO countries he would be “extremely unhappy” if they didn’t quickly up their spending, but they had agreed to do so.

“We had a very intense summit,” Merkel told reporters after the session.

Trump’s NATO grudge

(From L to R, first row) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May attend the opening ceremony at the 2018 NATO Summit at NATO headquarters on July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. Leaders from NATO member and partner states are meeting for a two-day summit, which is being overshadowed by strong demands by U.S. President Trump for most NATO member countries to spend more on defense

Sean Gallup/Getty Imagess

Trump and other US presidents before him have pressed European leaders to spend more on defense to contribute to NATO, but Trump has consistently pressed an accelerated timeline.

NATO countries agreed to each spend 2% of their GDP on defense by 2024, but so far only a handful of countries meet that mark. Germany, Europe’s richest country, spends just 1.24% on defense, and it’s an unpopular topic there.

Not only did Trump demand on Twitter on Thursday that countries meet the 2% level by this year, not 2024, but he also said all countries should eventually hit 4%, which is more than even the US currently spends. Spending %4 of GDP on defense represents wartime levels of investment.

Trump has repeatedly slammed Merkel for supporting a new pipeline that would cement Berlin’s client relationship with Russia and increase Moscow’s influence. Energy exports represent Russia’s main source of revenue, and Trump argues that the pipeline undermines NATO’s purpose, as it’s designed to counter Russian aggression.


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