Trump Didn't Not Shake Angela Merkel's Hand
The comment was likely a response to viral coverage of the frosty moment in which he declined to shake hands with the German Chancellor inside the Oval Office.
Before coming to office in January, the USA president called Merkel´s acceptance of refugees a "catastrophic mistake" and said she was "ruining Germany". "We talked about the global situation, we discussed the shared interests that we have", said Merkel on her remarks.
The two leaders tried to express their common bonds but showed minimal rapport in their first encounter, a departure from Merkel's warm relations with Obama during his eight years as president.
In February, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies must increase defence spending by the end of the year, or the US will "moderate its commitment" to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Merkel said Germany had committed to spending 2 percent of GDP on defense until 2024 and had increased their defense spending by 8 percent a year ago.
But Germany spends a miserly 1.23% of its national income despite running a whopping £234billion budget surplus.
Although the president and Merkel have been critical of one another in the past, Trump reaffirmed America's "strong support" for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation while maintaining his position that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies need to "pay their fair share" for the cost of defense.
Only the U.S. and four other members now reach the alliance's benchmark of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence.
To be fair, it's possible Trump simply couldn't hear Merkel during the earlier photo op above the rapid fire of photographers' shutters and voices of aides.
The meeting was the first between the new U.S. president and the long-serving stateswoman, who leads Europe's largest economy. The new US president, a political novice before the 2016 campaign, had his first face-to-face talks with a veteran German leader whom he frequently maligned on the campaign trail, and whose free-trade, open-border politics stand in marked contrast to Trump's nationalistic rhetoric. She's coming there with two big CEOs from German companies.
It's not just refugees that have divided the two world leaders.
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"We said nothing", the President said. He's only commander-in-chief of the entire US military.
Trump, who as a candidate who called Merkel's migration stance "insane", offered little of the effusive praise to which Merkel became accustomed to from former President Barack Obama. Turning to Merkel, he joked, "At least we both have something in common, perhaps".
Mr Trump said he did not believe in isolationism, but that trade policy should be fairer. Merkel has struck a hard line over incursions into Ukraine and the Kremlin's support for Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad.
Trump had previously accused Merkel of "ruining" Germany with her pro-refugee policies and more internationalist worldview. Europeans are newly interested in nationalism, but the more "nationalism" becomes a synonym for "Trump", the more fragile that interest might be. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was a major topic of both the meeting and press conference, with Trump saying North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members must pay "what they owe".
Mr Trump backed Britain's departure from the European Union and has expressed scepticism of multilateral trade agreements.
Last year, the US shipped almost $50 billion worth of goods to Germany and bought more than $114 billion in return, creating a trade deficit of almost $65 billion.
But Merkel argues that protectionist trade policies would hurt the overall economies of both countries, and highlights German companies like Volkswagen AG that have opened factories in the US.
"You shouldn't be talking to me".
The United Kingdom's decision to leave the group and rising nationalist parties in other parts of Europe - as well as Trump's own victory - have eliminated some of her closer political allies, including Obama.
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Mar 15 2017