But I said, ultimately we should be - in years in advance, we should be at 4 percent.
As well as Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were singled out by Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when US taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6 percent of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills.
Voters in Europe's richest country are divided on the issue, a poll for Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper showed on Friday, with 45 percent wanting Germany to reach the 2 percent target and 49 percent against.
There were conflicting reports Thursday that Trump had threatened to "do his own thing" unless his spending desires were met, raising suggestions he might withdraw the USA from the transatlantic alliance.
"President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO", Macron said.
Reports suggest the US President told allies that the US "could do it's own thing" unless they increased their defence budgets.
NATO, a pillar of the global order, emerged from a two-day confrontation with President Donald Trump on Thursday intact but distracted and shaken, a further challenge to the alliance as it faces an expansionist Russian Federation and growing authoritarianism among some of its own members. The United States, far the biggest economy, spent 3.6 per cent past year, while Germany, the second biggest, paid out just 1.2 per cent and only a handful of countries met the 2 per cent target.
He earlier infuriated Chancellor Angela Merkel by claiming Germany had been left "captive" and was "totally controlled" by Moscow because of a gas pipeline deal with Russian Federation. "Now they are adding billions".
In a closed-door meeting with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders, Trump said that if European governments did not spend more on defence, the United States "would have to look to go its own way", according to one diplomatic source present in the room.
"We reaffirmed a credible budget strategy that meets our needs", Macron said.
They are the most recent charges in the special counsel probe that already has resulted in guilty pleas from three of Trump's campaign aides.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called for "fair play" and more respect for multilateralism.
"They're here as a prime minister or as a president, and they can't necessarily go in and say, 'This is what we're going to do.' But they're going back for approvals", Trump said, acknowledging the political realities.
Trump heads next to the United Kingdom.
Mr Trump said he would raise issues of arms control, extending new start treaty, and Russian Federation violations of INF treaty in Putin talks. The United States is due to hold mid-term elections in November. And one of the freedoms we have is freedom of speech and the freedom to express your views. "I just don't know".
"These revelations add to a body of evidence confirming an extensive plot by Vladimir Putin's government to attack the 2016 election, sow chaos and dissension among the American electorate, and undermine faith in our democracy,"McCain said in a statement on Friday".