President Trump's at-times awkward meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel was summed up as one that "could have been a lot worse" by German daily Bild, reports the New York Times, but Trump's comments on NATO are gathering some steam. During a joint news conference Friday, Trump thanked Merkel for working to move Germany toward paying 2% of its GDP to NATO (Germany currently pays 1.2%; only five of 28 member countries meet the 2% target). But on Saturday, he was more forceful on Twitter: "Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel," he tweeted. "Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!"
Which immediately prompted many to point out that the White House shouldn't hold its breath waiting for a check that decidedly won't be in the mail. Former permanent rep to NATO Ivo Daalder responded, "Sorry, Mr President, that’s not how Nato works. The US decides for itself how much it contributes to defending Nato. This is not a financial transaction, where Nato countries pay the US to defend them. It is part of our treaty commitment." Explains the Guardian in quoting Daalder, "ultimately, members’ contributions are based on each nation’s capability. Therefore, Nato member nations do not 'owe' or have to compensate any other country."