After U.S. President Donald Trump wasted no time making a complete fool of himself on the world stage at the NATO summit on Wednesday by accusing Germany of being "totally controlled by Russia," German Chancellor Angela Merkel quickly hit back at the American president by informing him that she "experienced the Soviet occupation of one part of Germany" herself and concluding "it is good that we are independent today."
"I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany," Merkel said after she arrived at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday. "Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions. That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany."
Trump—whose presidential campaign is currently under investigation for possible collusion with the Russian government—launched his attack on Germany and other U.S. allies during breakfast with members of his cabinet, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, and other alliance officials.
"Germany is a captive of Russia," Trump declared, kicking off two days of NATO meetings that come ahead of his scheduled meeting in Finland with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "I think it's something that NATO has to look at."
TRUMP: “Germany is totally controlled by Russia … They will be getting between 60 and 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline, and you tell me if that is appropriate because I think it's not." pic.twitter.com/VKkexpCEn1
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 11, 2018
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In addition to accusing Germany of being "captive" to Russia, Trump also repeated falsehoods about America's contributions to NATO's budget and slammed America's allies for not devoting a large enough swath of their economies to military spending.
Debunking Trump's claim ahead of Wednesday's meeting that the U.S. is "paying for 90 percent of NATO," D'Angelo Gore of FactCheck.org noted, "In reality, the U.S. share of the commonly funded NATO budget is currently just over 22 percent, according to the most recent figures from NATO."
Refusing to allow reality to interfere with his preferred narrative, Trump insisted Wednesday morning that "many countries are not paying what they should, and, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money from many years back."
"They're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them," Trump added.