Trump responds to Merkel criticism with furious tweet saying Germany does not pay its way

Helen Nianias
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump - REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

US President Donald Trump criticised Germany on Tuesday for its trade surplus and military spending levels, a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel hammered home her doubts about the reliability of the United States as an ally.

On Monday, Mrs Merkel underlined her doubts about the reliability of the United States as an ally, venting European frustrations with Trump after back-to-back summits last week, but said she was a “convinced trans-Atlanticist”.

Head to head: Donald Trump and Angela Merkel

Mrs Merkel spoke of her dismay at the USA's reluctance to back the Paris Agreement on climate change at the G7 summit over the weekend.

"The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying," Merkel said on Saturday. "There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris Agreement or not."

Speaking at a conference on sustainable development in Berlin yesterday, she reiterated her concerns about the German-US relationship.

Mrs Merkel said it was important for Germany not to gloss over their differences.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel added on Monday that Mr Trump’s actions have “weakened” the West.

"Anyone who accelerates climate change by weakening environmental protection, who sells more weapons in conflict zones and who does not want to politically resolve religious conflicts is putting peace in Europe at risk," he said.

The Paris Agreement calls for “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels".

Mr Trump previously promised to "cancel" the agreement, but his views could have changed.

During the G7, White House economics advisor Gary Cohn said the president's views were "evolving".

“He feels much more knowledgeable on the topic today,” said Mr Cohn. “He came here to learn, he came here to get smarter.”

Mr Trump tweeted that he will make his decision on the Paris Agreement imminently: