"Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel".
"Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the US".
In an exchange caught on video, photographers gathered around Trump and Merkel in the Oval Office early Friday afternoon and suggested that the two leaders shake hands for the camera. In his opening remarks at a joint White House press conference, Trump reiterated his support for the treaty-a key German priority.
But a former USA ambassador pointed out that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members don't pay the United States for security, but contribute by spending on their own militaries. The US, on the other hand, contributes 3.6% - nearly double the requirement. Germany now spends 1.23% of its GDP on defence, but it is being increased.
Mr Trump said he did not believe in isolationism, but that trade policy should be fairer.
During his presidential campaign, Mr Trump frequently accused the Chancellor of "ruining" Germany for allowing an influx of refugees and other migrants from Syria.
"It's going to be a great policy for the United States, and worldwide", said Trump, adding that "many jobs are coming back to Michigan, Ohio, places where they were losing jobs".
But while committing to increase defense funding, Merkel also said diplomacy and development are important elements of security - just as Trump's White House seeks deep cuts to both areas to pay for a military buildup. "We talked about the global situation, we discussed the shared interests that we have", said Merkel on her remarks.
"We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television", Trump said. You should be talking to Fox, ' Trump said.
Trump said Friday that trade should be "reciprocal".
Trump refused to take responsibility for the fallout resulting from his controversial accusation that President Obama had his wires tapped in Trump Tower.
Mr Trump backed Britain's departure from the European Union and has expressed scepticism of multilateral trade agreements.
Both German journalists asked about it point-blank.
The awkwardness showed in their news conference, which in the end made headlines over a made-up issue, with criticism that the president had, as Strobe Talbott, a former deputy secretary of state, wrote in a tweet "managed, gratuitously, to sour relations with Germany & UK, two key allies & fellow democracies" in a single day. Trump responds by calling her a peddler of.fake news. "On the other hand, when expectations are low sometimes that can set the stage for improvement".