Later in the day, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed with reporters that US President Donald Trump had requested NATO members to increase their defense spending from two to four percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
"During the President's remarks today at the NATO summit he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2% of their GDP on defense spending but that they increase it to 4%," Sanders said.
Following the statement by the White House, Trump turned to Twitter to express once again his discontent over the NATO member-states defense budget.
What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are their only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 11 июля 2018 г.
Besides calling for increased defense spending, the US president lashed out at Germany, calling it "a captive" to Russia and stressed that Berlin "only makes Russia richer," while also criticizing the NATO countries that had approved the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline.
Trump has repeatedly pressed the other member governments of NATO to meet their annual defense spending obligations in the alliance, but since he took office in January 2017 only 14 percent of them have done so.
According to a Pew Research Center Report on Monday, just four NATO member states met the stated goal of spending 2 percent or more of their GDP on defense in 2017, with the remaining 24 members falling short.