President Trump Prods Germany Over NATO, but Touts Merkel Meeting

President Trump Prods Germany Over NATO, but Touts Merkel Meeting”

Trump also tweeted that despite "fake news" reports, he had a "great" meeting with Merkel.

As a candidate, Trump frequently accused the chancellor of "ruining" Germany for allowing an influx of refugees and other migrants from Syria and accused his campaign rival, Hillary Clinton, of wanting to be "America's Angela Merkel".

James Mattis, the US Secretary of Defence, told European leaders at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in February the US would "moderate its commitment" to the group unless member states put in more money.

Five members including the USA and the United Kingdom now reach Nato's benchmark of spending two per cent of GDP on defence; Germany spends 1.23 per cent though this is set to increase. Germany now spends 1.23% of its GDP on defence but this is being increased.

"I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as the need for our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense", he said.

Only the United States and four other members reach the benchmark of spending 2% of GDP on defence.

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Still, Merkel's face spoke volumes about the awkwardness of the moment. Sitting side by side each other in the Oval Office, photographers pressed Trump to shake Merkel's hand for a photo op. Both emphasized the need for fair trade, but Trump couldn't help but complain that Germany is now profiting at America's expense.

The visit was a test of Trump's foreign policy vision as he welcomed a leader who not only represents Europe's biggest economy, but has emerged as the most visible advocate of the post-World War II global order. Considering the healthy relationship Germany has had with USA, world leaders around the world must not have expected such an "awkard" meeting between United States president Trump and Merkel.

Public scrutiny of the German chancellor's facial expressions during her visit to Washington did not end there. She's the most important leader in Europe. The two leaders tried to emphasize common interests, despite major policy differences.

Trump said Friday that trade should be "reciprocal".

"But hopefully we can even it out". "We need to be fair to each other".

Merkel subtly corrected the U.S. president.

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The U.S. bugged Merkel's personal and official phones for more than a decade, beginning during a period of national security tightening in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks.

However, she had close relations with Mr Trump's predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and is likely to seek a strong working relationship with him despite major policy differences and wariness in Germany about the former NY businessman. Says he and Merkel have that in common.

And hey, however bad it was, it still wasn't the most awkward interaction between Merkel and a USA president. Merkel had no illusion of the differences between her globally oriented view of geopolitics and the "America First" dictum with which Trump has unsettled traditional USA partners. Europeans are newly interested in nationalism, but the more "nationalism" becomes a synonym for "Trump", the more fragile that interest might be.

Trump seemed to have changed his stance on NATO by expressing strong support for the organisation during the joint press conference on Friday. Trump backed Britain's departure from the European Union and has expressed skepticism of multilateral trade agreements.

Germany, one of the world's biggest exporters, now enjoys a trade surplus with the US.

Both German journalists asked about it point-blank.

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But look out, this lady is also as close to an Iron Chancellor as any German leader since Bismarck two centuries ago. Trump responds by calling her a peddler of.fake news.

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