Trump slams media coverage of Merkel meeting

Katherine Zappone

The wiretapping allegations overshadowed the other aspects of the German Chancellor's visit, which is a crucial one for United States and German relations.

The visit was scheduled for Tuesday, but was postponed because of a snowstorm. The rejection for a handshake from Trump's side reflected the difference in views between the two on a wide range of issues including trade, Russian Federation and immigration, which led to some uneasy moments at the news conference. Trump said via Twitter on Saturday (18 March).

Carmaker BMW's US plant exports "more cars than GM and Ford together" from the United States, Merkel said. Ms Merkel is displaying a genuine smile as we can see crows feet near her eyes which cannot be faked, so whatever the president is saying she is agreeing with and not just being polite.

The body language was at times awkward. He looked forwards with his hands clasped and did not reply. The two leaders tried to emphasize common interests, despite major policy differences.

But he reiterated his stance that Germany needs to meet its end of the bargain if it is to continue benefiting from the military alliance.

Only the United States and four other members now reach the alliance's benchmark of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence. Germany has always been one of those countries: Even with recent budget increases, it is still spending well less than 2 percent of gross domestic product on its military, the agreed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation sum.




"I don't believe in an isolationist policy but I also believe a policy of trade should be a fair policy", Trump said.

He told the reporter asking the question: "I don't know what newspaper you're reading, but I guess that would be an example of fake news".

"And our free trade has led to a lot of bad things happening", he continued. While Trump ignored questions about his previous comments regarding Merkel, the German chancellor did say it was "much better to talk to one another, not about one another".

The businesslike tone of their exchanges also illustrated the distance between the two leaders. During his election campaign, Trump had frequently attacked Merkel for "ruining" Germany by allowing refugees and migrants from Syria to enter the country.

During the frosty Trump-Merkel meeting, Obama's White House photographer Pete Souza continued his grade-A trolling of Trump by posting photos on Instagram of several warm meetings between the former president and Merkel.

After two weeks of unsubstantiated allegations and remarkable responses, it was perhaps inevitable that a joint news conference held by Donald Trump and Angela Merkel would be eventful - and confusing. However, he had also said in the past she was a leader he greatly respected.

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