Merkel fires back after Trump’s harsh scolding at breakfast

President Donald Trump has been very outspoken about the members of NATO who are not pulling their financial weight and the president scolded “delinquent” nations at a bilateral breakfast in Brussels with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Germany has taken the brunt of Trump’s ire, as seen Wednesday when the president accused the country of being “captive” to Russia — which led to Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel pushing back.

“Germany is totally controlled by Russia,” Trump said at the testy breakfast.

The president was speaking of the gas pipeline deal Germany has with the country NATO considers its greatest threat.

“I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where — we’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump said.

“So we’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France, we’re protecting all of these countries and then numerous of these countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia,” Trump said. “So we’re supposed to protect you against Russia, but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia. I think that’s very inappropriate.”

(Photo credit GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded to Trump by pointing out she grew up in Soviet-controlled East Germany and said they are now “united in freedom” and make their own decisions.

“I myself experienced that a part of Germany that was controlled by the Soviet Union,” she said, according to the Washington Post. “And I am very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany. We decide our own policies and make our own decisions.”

Merkel also defended Germany’s contributions to NATO.

“Germany does a lot for NATO,” she said. “Germany is the second-largest provider of troops, the largest part of our military capacity is offered to NATO, and until today we have a strong engagement towards Afghanistan. In that we also defend the interests of the United States.”

According to the Post:

In remarks inside the closed-door meeting, she went even further in her tough pushback against Trump, according to two officials who were present and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private remarks. In firm, unemotional language, Merkel told the other 28 leaders how Putin once served as a KGB officer and spy in her own country, making clear that she had little tolerance for being told her nation was controlled by the Kremlin.

Tom Tillison


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