"He suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 per cent of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4 per cent", Sarah Sanders told reporters. According to NATO's most recent report detailing members' defense expenditures, only five countries now satisfy that threshold: the United States, Greece, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Latvia.
Of course, it's impossible to say exactly what was going through the minds of Trump's aides. Stoltenberg stressed that progress has been made and pledged further progress in the near future.
The president received a lot of attention and criticism today when he started the summit with America's allies in Brussels by attacking Germany in the middle of a photo-op.
"So, we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries". The pipeline would link Russian Federation and Germany via the Baltic Sea, doubling the capacity of the existing pipeline in that corridor, and bypassing other pipelines through Ukraine and central and eastern Europe.
"But I have to bring it up because I think it's very unfair to our country, it's very unfair to our taxpayer", he said.
"The former chancellor of Germany is head of the pipeline company that's supplying the gas", he said, referring to Gerhard Schröder.
"Germany, as far as I'm concerned, is captive of Russian Federation because it is getting so much of its energy from Russian Federation", he said. So I think the secretary-general likes Trump.
"It should never have been allowed to happen", he added. "And gas from Russian Federation to Germany is where the allies disagree. On top of that, Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 percent [on defense]... and I think that is inappropriate also", Trump said.
While Canada spends less than some, it has the best equipment interoperability in the alliance - meaning it's a reliable partner for the US on missions overseas, he said.
"And I think these countries have to step it up not over a 10-year period". The comment illustrated how Trump often seeks to avoid conflict with people when he is face to face with them versus the often-harsher rhetoric he uses when he's talking behind their back. Trump was referring to the controversial $12 billion proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russian Federation and Germany.
After Trump ranted that "Germany is totally controlled by Russia", Chancellor Angela Merkel fired back by reminding him that she grew up while the Soviet Union occupied East Germany, so she has a pretty good idea of what it really means to be under Russia's thumb.