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President Donald Trump meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The White House denied a report that Trump handed Merkel a fake bill for $374 billion


German officials told The Sunday Times that President Trump handed German Chancellor Angela Merkel a fake physical bill for NATO spending, "charging" Germany 300 billion pounds (roughly $374 billion) during her visit to the U.S. earlier this month.

Trump has repeatedly criticized NATO countries, including Germany, for not spending enough on military commitments.

Multiple White House spokesmen told The Independent reports of the invoice were untrue. 

President Donald Trump greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

NATO countries pledged in 2014 to invest 2 percent of their GDP in defence spending. So far, only the U.S., Poland, Estonia, Greece and Poland have met that total. The 300 billion pounds was a U.S. estimate of how far short Germany's spending fell.

The concept behind putting out such demands is to intimidate the other side, but the chancellor took it calmly and will not respond ...
Anonymous German official

A German official dismissed the bill as a stunt and said Merkel rejected it, the Times reported. She did pledge to increase German defense spending during the visit, however.

Trump merkel.jpg
German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens as President Donald Trump speaks during their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Another anonymous German official denied that the invoice existed, BuzzFeed News reports

Reports of the invoice drew harsh responses from Trump critics.

But some dismissed the story as fake news.

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