The U.S.is at 3.5 percent, or $685 billion past year.
"President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations,"said Sanders". He told fellow leaders he would prefer a 4 percent target, closer to the 3.6 percent of GDP the United States spends on defense.
A joint summit declaration issued Wednesday underlined NATO's support for Ukraine and its aspirations for membership of the alliance, pending domestic reforms.
"I think that getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, getting along with others is a good thing, not a bad thing", Trump said. Says Stoltenberg: "We have agreed that we're committed to the pledge increasing defence spending to 2 percent".
Singling out Germany isn't necessarily fair, said defense analyst Sophia Besch of the Center for European Reform.
Around eight members of the 29-country alliance are expected to reach the 2% target this year.
"We're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said in the presence of reporters at a pre-summit meeting at the residence of the USA ambassador to Belgium.
'President Trump, who spoke first, raised the issue not only to achieve 2 percent, today, but a new barrier - 4 percent, ' Bulgarian President Rumen Radev told reporters, according to the wire service Reuters.
Rescued boys generally healthy and smiling - Thai official
But he added rescuers may need more than 20 hours, to replan and replenish oxygen supplies, to be ready to mount the next mission. Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around in hospital.
Drawing on her own background, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back sharply, insisting that Germany makes its own decisions. "And I am very happy that today we are united in freedom", Merkel said. Moreover, he displays a woeful ignorance of the work his predecessor's administration did to increase European defense spending.
"President Trump makes public adversaries out of our friends, and turns our adversary, who has been attacking America's democracy, into his fawned-over ally".
Trump told reporters during brief remarks at the end of the meeting that the two had a "very, very good relationship" and congratulated Merkel on her "tremendous success".
Trump said Germany's closure of coal and nuclear power plants on environmental grounds had increased its dependence, like much of the rest of Europe, on Russian gas. "So I think that's inappropriate also", Trump claimed.
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while speaking to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during their bilateral breakfast, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.
After Trump's cordial reception of Merkel in the afternoon, it seemed Trump avoided the kind of diplomatic disaster he set in motion at the G7 in June.
Yet this anti-Nord Stream effort faces an uphill fight in Brussels, and Mr. Trump's lobbying carries less weight than it would if Europeans weren't now predisposed to distrust him on his overall commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and trade.
He continued the attack Thursday, complaining that, "Germany just started paying Russian Federation, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russian Federation".