On Tuesday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy accused the Trump administration of lying about a phone call between the Spanish leader and US President Donal Trump on February 8, according to the parliamentary transcript of a reply to Podemos senator Ramón Espinar in the Spanish Senate.
In a winding question on the state of US-Spain relations now that the new president is in the White House, Mr. Espinar asked Mr. Rajoy about the discrepancy in the American and Spanish readouts of the call.
The White House version of the February 8 call centred almost exclusively on the demand NATO members spend 2% of their budgets on defence. Moncloa, the Spanish Prime Minister's office, completely omitted that part of the conversation.
Mr. Rajoy insisted several times on Tuesday that the two men had not talked about increasing Spanish defence spending.
"In my telephone conversation with Mr. Trump I did not speak about military defence spending", he said: "Believe me, I didn't say a single word with him about this matter".
It was true, said the Prime Minister, that US Defence Secretary James Mattis had travelled to Europe and that Vice President Mike Pence had told NATO members on Monday that "we should increase spending, but I didn't talk about that matter, and my position is well-known".
He said Spain had committed to increasing defence spending at the NATO summit in Cardiff (UK) in 2013 "and I am ready to fulfil those [commitments] at the right time".
He then repeated, for a third time, that "I did not say a word" about it during his phone call with President Trump on February 8 and, to make sure no one thought he was only describing his side of the conversation, added: "the president of the United States did not ask me for anything related to this matter either".
The White House readout of the February 8 call said President Trump had "emphasized the importance of all NATO allies sharing the burden of defense spending".
In his question, Podemos senator Ramón Espinar had described President Trump as "a time bomb" for human rights, respect between countries, democracy and welfare.
Mr. Rajoy also said that he had not spoken to Donald Trump about the border wall with Mexico during the conversation.