In comments to NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg as the two met in front of reporters before a NATO summit in Brussels, Trump said it was "very inappropriate" that the United States was paying for European defence against Russian Federation while the richest European state Germany supported gas deals with Moscow.
Jens Stoltenberg, Nato secretary-general, pictured here among alliance leaders, struck a diplomatic note about Mr Trump's outspoken calls for other countries to live up to their goal of spending 2 per cent of their economic output on defence.
The Republican president, in Brussels for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, took a swipe at Germany for supporting a new pipeline for Russian gas, saying at a pre-summit meeting: "We're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia".
CBS News correspondent Weijia Jiang joined CBSN with more on the president's criticism and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's response.
Trump has claimed on numerous occasions over the last week that the United States" more than 4 percent GDP contribution to the security of the group compared to its European allies is "very unfair' to the American taxpayer.
Stoltenberg agreed there should be more done to prompt allies to invest more in their defense. The overwhelming 88-11 vote for the non-binding resolution symbolically condemns Trump's liberal use of the Trade Expansion Act, which has allowed him to inch the US toward a trade war, most recently with Tuesday's tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods.
"I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany".
"The former chancellor of Germany is head of the pipeline company that's supplying the gas", he said, referring to Gerhard Schröder.
The remarks come as Trump is set to meet next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Stoltenberg, eight countries would meet the 2 percent target this year and a "majority" put forward plans to do so by 2020 - compared to only three countries who were meeting the commitment in 2014. "So, you tell me, is that appropriate?"
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at the summit that Trump will have "pull-aside" meetings later in the day with Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump asserted earlier Wednesday that Germany is "totally controlled" by and "captive to Russia" because of a pipeline project.
"We're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries".
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch also took issue with Trump, saying "I don't agree with that".