March 28, 2017

Trump declines to shake Merkel's hand during awkward White House interaction

20 March 2017, 06:36 | Taylor George

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The meeting will be an important chance for Mr. Trump to clarify his views on institutions like North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union - and also, experts say, a potential opportunity for him and Merkel to find some common ground, to find some common ground, most likely where economic issues are concerned. "Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS", he tweeted, "I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel".

He declined further comment, and it's unclear what information the department provided.

The chancellor has 11 years of experience as a leader and Mr Trump is her third USA president, but she regards him as an unknown quantity and prepared thoroughly for their meeting, studying his speeches and policies to find areas of cooperation.

To which Trump responded with the gesticulator equivalent to crickets.

And though he hasn't said who his sources are, The New York Times reported that Larry C. Johnson, a former Central Intelligence Agency employee who left government work 15 years before Obama took office, is one of them.

Mr Trump expected the United States to do "fantastically well" in trade with Germany, he said at a joint news conference, while also pushing for NATO-aligned nations to help pay for the organisation's peacekeeping efforts. It's a point he has repeated often, maintaining a skeptical view of the defensive alliance - a position that has made Germany and other European countries wary. But he insisted that the European nations "must pay what they owe". During a later segment, he said his sources told him President Obama asked Britain to spy. "On a day filled with awkward moments", Politico noted, "probably none was more cringe-worthy to German eyes than the picture of the president's glamorous daughter ... perched next to no-nonsense Merkel as she praised her father's commitment to job creation".

Germany is anxious that the Trump administration has little regard for a united Europe and is overly friendly to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Sharing the dais with Merkel, Trump said he and the German leader probably shared something when it came to the previous Obama Administration.

"I'll make that clear", she added.

And unavoidably with business comes the question of trade.

"The English word she puts a lot of emphasis on right now is the word 'reciprocity, ' " Koch says.

And those "prior verbal tiffs" are not insignificant. During the presidential campaign, he had accused her of "ruining" Germany by allowing tens of thousands of refugees, many from Syria and other predominantly Muslim countries, to enter Germany.

The meeting, between two leaders who have not always agreed, is consequential for both sides.

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