Frosty White House reception for Germany’s Chancellor

World Today

President Donald Trump meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived at the White House having spent weeks studying up on President Donald Trump. But Friday’s meetings appeared to bring her no closer to seeing eye-to-eye with the new U.S. leader.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

Frosty White House reception for Germany's Chancellor

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived at the White House having spent weeks studying up on President Donald Trump.

Trump barely looked in her direction in the Oval Office, and he declined to shake her hand.

For months, the differences between Merkel and Trump have been on display. She supports European integration, while he supported BREXIT. She opened the door to Syrian refugees, and he initially banned their entry. She is wary of Russia, while he wants warmer relations. While Trump drew his lines in the sand, and Merkel tried to soften them.

“All that is diversity, which is good,” Merkel reassured. “Sometimes it’s difficult to find compromises, but that’s what we’ve been elected for.”

Merkel called on Trump to restart EU-U.S. trade talks. Earlier, she and Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed just ahead of her White House meeting.

“We say trade has to be rendered fairer, there has to be a win-win situation,” said Merkel.

“We don’t want victory, we want fairness. All I want is fairness,” responded Trump.

Perhaps the most awkward moment between the leaders was Trump’s response to a question about his tweets accusing former U.S. President Barack Obama of wiretapping him at Trump Tower.

“As far as wiretapping I guess, by this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps,” said Trump. The comment was met by nervous laughter in the room.

German media quickly ran with it as a mean-spirited NSA joke referring to Merkel’s discovery in 2013 that the U.S. National Security Agency had tapped her cell phone.

The tapping of Chancellor Merkel’s cell phone was a new low for U.S.-German relations. It’s also a reminder that the relationship between the two countries has been rebuilt before.

Michael Kimmage discusses Germany’s Angela Merkel visit to US

To talk about the much-anticipated first meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Michael Kimmage, Transatlantic Academy Fellow for the German Marshall Fund.