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Home / World / Great decisions are made when Trump meets Merkel with little fanfare

Great decisions are made when Trump meets Merkel with little fanfare



WASHINGTON – This time there were fewer hugs.

President Donald Trump welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday for less than three hours at the White House. He greeted Merkel outside the West Wing with a handshake and a kiss on each cheek, a traditional welcome, but far from the generous display of personal warmth he had seen the week he hosted French President Emmanuel Macron for three guests ( 1965) Trump, in short remarks to Merkel in the Oval Office, called her an "extraordinary woman," congratulating her on her recent re-election and denying any idea that her relationship was chilly.

We have a really great relationship. We actually had a great relationship right from the beginning, "said Trump.

Though their visit will be short-lived, Merkel's message will be similar to Macron's – that America and Europe must bury the hatchet on key issues Worldwide trade in international security

In the hours before Merkel's arrival at the White House, Trump himself noted the limited schedule that included a 30-minute Oval Office meeting, followed by a working lunch and a joint press conference

"I look forward to seeing Chancellor Angela today Merkel from Germany to meet, "Trump tweeted." So much to discuss, so little time! It will be good for our two big countries!

While Macron and Trump did everything to show their affection by warm handshakes, hugs, and sometimes air kisses, the president did not show the same chemistry Merkel had at their first meeting at the White House last spring, Trump seemed to respond to the photographers' requests The German Chancellor looked unhappy when last summer Trump accused NATO countries of not spending enough on defense when he stood in the shining Brussels headquarters of NATO

This time, the two exchanged a handshake in the Oval Office.

Kellyanne Conway, a senior Advisor to Trump, said the President's relationship with Merkel and Macron need not be compared

"France and Germany are great allies. I think every leader is different, every relationship is different, "Conway said in the White House." We are delighted that Chancellor Merkel is making another detour here. "

While Macron is Europe's" Trump Whisperer "and Positioning Conduit for a US president who appears to be raising US relations with allies, Merkel maintains her upright strength as head of the largest economy in Europe, and if that visit provokes a similar lack of bonhomie that might be good for Merkel, who German politician Jan Techau feels little sympathy for Trump at home.

"For Merkel it's pretty important domestically not to get too close to Trump," said Techau, Senior Fellow at Think Tank The German Marshall Fund United States: The anti-American sentiment has rekindled in Germany since Trump's election, with mainstream media routinely denouncing the US president as a threat to

The state visit to Macron was long planned, while Merkel's more informal working visit was added. The timetable for her trip to Washington would be the first outside of Europe since her election victory. Two deadlines are big.

The first is Trump's call to revise the international nuclear deal with Iran by 12 May – an agreement that would make Germany, like France, firm and convinced that it should continue. Germany is unlikely to be comprehensive recast of the agreement. Berlin has signaled its willingness to consider add-ons that would tackle Tehran's ballistic missile program and rein in Iran's efforts to strengthen its strategic role in the Middle East. Earlier this week, Macron made it clear that France would not follow the US lead if Trump decided to withdraw from the deal.

Macron later told French reporters that he has no "inside information" about Trump's decision on Iran It is clear that the US president is "not very willing to defend him."

The second deadline concerns the extension of new US tariffs on foreign-produced steel and aluminum, some of which fear that a global wave of protectionism could deeply affect a trading nation like Germany.

Although German officials have signaled that their goals for the visit are modest, Berlin announced last week that it would increase defense spending, a long-standing claim in Washington. While Germany is still likely to miss the target of devoting 2 percent of its gross domestic product to the defense expected by NATO members, the move could be seen as a sign that Berlin has received the message.

Some German officials were quiet They play with the idea of ​​buying US-made F-35 jets and replace the country's aging Tornado fleet. The hope is that this would show Berlin's willingness to respond to military spending while improving the US trade balance with Germany.

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Associated Press author Frank Jordan reports from Berlin.

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Lemire follow on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire

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