The White House is denying that President Trump handed German Chancellor Angela Merkel a bill for over $350 billion when the two leaders met earlier this month, as the Times of London reports. Trump reportedly claimed the bill was for the money Germany owed NATO. The Times apparently learned of the bill from anonymous German officials, including one who described Trump's move as "outrageous."
"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," the minister said.
NATO countries agree to spend two percent of their GDP on defense, although only the U.S., U.K., Greece, Poland, and Estonia are meeting those goals at this time. "It is believed that Mr. Trump's team calculated the amount Berlin has fallen short of the two percent target from that point then added interest," The Independent writes.
Former President Bill Clinton's secretary of labor, Robert Reich, tweeted in response to the news: "Trump is an international embarrassment. To our allies around the world: He doesn't represent most Americans, and we're doing all we can."
The White House denied Trump offered Merkel the bill. "This is not true," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told Business Insider.
Whether Trump handed Merkel the bill or not, there's no doubt their meeting was an awkward affair. Trump has additionally made a point of chasing down Germany for the money: "Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO and the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!" he tweeted.