President Donald Trump had his chilliest summit yet with a foreign leader as he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today for the first time.
Talks began with a warm welcome outside the West Wing but turned cold as Trump blew off an attempted handshake in the Oval Office and disagreed publicly with Merkel on almost every major international issue.
From The Daily Mail
Trump opened up a joint news conference that his daughter Ivanka attended with a slap at Merkel over her open-door refugee policy. Declaring that ‘immigration is a privilege, not a right,’ Trump said the safety of the countries’ citizens ‘must always come first without question.’
He also pushed for her country to live up to its NATO commitment, stressing the ‘need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense.’
Merkel told him it has always been her belief that it is ‘much, much better to talk to one another and not about one another’ – a reference to the many disparaging statements Trump made on the campaign trail about her leadership.
As the press conference came to a close, Trump told Merkel ‘at least we have something in common, perhaps.’ They were both wiretapped by the previous administration, he implied.
The German chancellor did not react. She stood stoically behind a podium to Trump’s right as the shocking statement was translated.
Trump had been asked about his claim that Barack Obama surveilled him and a follow-up allegation from his press secretary that Obama may have relied on British intelligence to do it.
That information came from a Fox News report that the British government slammed as ‘nonsense.’
At his Friday news conference, Trump denied that his administration was impugning its overseas ally.
‘We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television,’ Trump said of Fox’s Judge Andrew Napolitano. ‘I didn’t make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. And so you shouldn’t be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox.’
Merkel is no stranger to Obama administration wiretapping. She herself was the subject of surveillance during his tenure. The explosive information came out in documents that were leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.
German newspaper Bild am Sonntag said Obama personally ordered the surveillance of the German leader. Der Spiegel reported that it began under the previous administration, in 2002, and ended in mid-2013.
Trump’s administration has provided no proof that Obama monitored his calls or had his Justice Department surveil him or his business. His White House has pointed to news reports like the one on Fox to back up his charge.
After the US’s spying on Germany was revealed, Obama apologized and told Merkel that his country would not eavesdrop on her again. The two eventually became close friends.
Trump struggled to put himself on similar footing with his German counterpart on Friday.
He had previously accused her of ‘ruining Germany’ for allowing an influx of refugees from Syria into her country.
As the two sat down for their first face-to-face meeting since his election, Trump called it a ‘great honor’ to meet her.
Helping to break the ice at a joint meeting with business executives was Germany’s support for apprenticeship programs, something Trump, the former ‘Apprentice’ star, couldn’t help but point out.
‘Both Germany and the United States are pioneering job-training programs,’ Trump said. Here in the United States, companies have created revolutionary high-tech and online courses and, of course, for decades Germany has been a model for highly successful apprenticeship – that’s a name I like, apprentice – apprenticeship programs,’ Trump said.
Trump was seated between Merkel and IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty. Execs from BMW, Siemens, and other companies also were there – as was daughter Ivanka Trump.
BMW and Siemens employ tens of tens of thousands of Americans. Many live in Southern states that Trump won in the U.S. election.
Read Full Story At The Daily Mail