The flawless metaphor? North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit photo sparks Twitter meme

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The US leader has also singled out Germany for particular criticism over its defence spending.

He said the USA "pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe" and demanded that members meet their pledge to spend 2 percent of GDP on defence, which "must ultimately go to 4%!"

Although Trump administration officials point to the longstanding alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary in England will largely keep him out of central London, where significant protests are expected.

'Their tariffs on our autos are four times higher in their defense spending is one fourth of what ours is and Germany is the wealthiest country in Europe, spending on defense is much less than most of other countries, ' he said. "And I am very happy that today we are united in freedom", Merkel said. "The President set American back this morning". But he noted that President Barack Obama had raised the issue in the past, securing the 2024 target date in 2014, and did so using diplomacy rather that "bombast and demagoguery".

"We should first get to two percent", NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, adding that eight of the 29 allies were meeting that target, while others had a plan to do so - turning a leaf on years of defence budget cuts.

Former Secretary of State and member of the Carnegie foundation John Kerry speaks to the press as he leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris during a summit in May.

In 2017, the alliance saw its biggest increase in defense spending "in a generation", he said, signaling to his aggrieved ally in the White House that "we see that all Allies have started to increase defense spending based on the national plans we have agreed to develop past year". Trump and Merkel later held businesslike talks on the sidelines of the summit.

Trump has berated members of the alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defense, accusing Europe of freeloading off the US and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense if they were attacked.

Throughout the day, leaders were peppered with questions about Trump's behavior and whether or not they agreed with his position on Germany.

Trump continued the attack through the day after first raising it at a breakfast meeting.

TRUMP: "You know, we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France". East Europeans fear the deal could leave them vulnerable - but it also redirects pressure on Trump, who is under fire for his own Russian Federation issues and whose administration is facing off against special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe.

"Many countries in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made", he said, tweeting from the air en route to a key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels.

Trump will meet the Russian leader in Helsinki on 16 July for their first summit amid an ongoing investigation in the United States into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

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