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Merkel Re-Election Bid Roiled by Trump's NATO Spending Demands

  • German leader’s SPD rival rejects alliance’s spending target
  • Schulz says ‘most definitely’ won’t happen if he’s elected
A German military exercise in 2016.

A German military exercise in 2016.

Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Germany’s Social Democrats zeroed in on an election-year line of attack against Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying they reject a NATO defense-spending goal pushed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Fresh from a string of electoral defeats, the SPD candidate for chancellor, Martin Schulz, stepped up his campaign against a major boost in military spending as the party works out its platform for the German election in September. National polls suggest the SPD trails Merkel’s CDU-CSU bloc by as much as 12 percentage points.