Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in "very direct language" but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO's resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally.
"So we're protecting Germany. Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions".
The president's beef was with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russian Federation to Germany's northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russian Federation can send directly to Germany. In May, the State Department threatened to sanction the companies involved in the project.
"We're supposed to protect Germany but they're getting their energy from Russia", Trump told Stoltenberg, as aides on both the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation side of a long table shifted in their seats and sat stonefaced.
Dr. Claudia Major, a researcher at the German Institute for International Security affairs, said that Germany, in particular, does more for the alliance than spend on its own defense, including deploying troops to Afghanistan, "and eventually, two percent is an arbitrary measurement that does not say much about efficiency and output".
Yet Mr. Trump's warnings about the pipeline's strategic dimension would be more persuasive if he weren't also as busy as Mr. Schröder playing down the strategic threat posed by Mr. Putin.
"Based on our agreed approach of doing nothing on Ukraine without Ukraine, I wish Mr Trump well in his efforts to bring Mr Putin back into line".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) looks on as US President Donald Trump speaks to other leaders as they pose for a family photo at the Park of the Cinquantenaire during the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018.
The European Union is split on the pipeline issue. The pointed criticism is likely related to the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Gazprom secured permits from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany to build the pipeline on the bed of the Baltic Sea.
"Russia now has the ability to supply gas to Europe across Ukraine".
It followed an uncomfortable first round at the summit where anxious Western allies were subjected to the USA president's "America first" approach.
"It is, rather, replacing one. Well they could increase it immediately, tomorrow, and have no problem", Trump said. The president said that allies increased spending by $40 billion at his urging.
It was just the latest in Trump's demands and insults that critics fear will undermine a decades-old alliance launched to counter-balance Soviet aggression after World War II.
"Germany is totally controlled by Russian Federation..."
"Everybody's talking about it all over the world, they're saying we're paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you're paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation".
According to the declaration, all Allies have started to increase the amount they spend on defense in real terms and some two-thirds of Allies have national plans in place to spend 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defense by 2024.