President Trump had hos much anticipated meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The White House meeting between President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The two had what aides for both sides called a productive first face to face meeting. After the get together, President Trump and his family left Washington and will spend the weekend at the Winter White House in Palm Beach. President Trump will spend the weekend in an attempt to continue to try to sweeten the deal in hopes of getting more Republicans to vote for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s Obamacare replacement plan.
As for the Friday get together between the two world leaders, their short term goal was to began the long path to bridge the gap between their different views. They differ on trade, Russia and immigration, leading to some uncomfortable moments at a joint news conference on Friday in which they took pains to downplay differences that were hard to hide.
Merkel is the woman leads Europe’s largest and most robust economy, something not lost on President Trump. It is very important that the two world leaders find some common ground as the they determine the future of the transatlantic alliance and shape their working relationship.
Trump and Merkel shook hands when she arrived at the White House and in the Oval Office both leaders described their meeting in brief remarks to reporters as having been very good.
She began her remarks at the news conference by saying it was better to speak to each other than about each other.
“We held a conversation where we were trying to address also those areas where we disagree, but we tried to bring people together … (and) tried to find a compromise that is good for both sides,” Merkel said.
Trump said he backed the NATO alliance, but stressed that some member states were not contributing enough.
The president also said he expected relations with Berlin to feature “fair and reciprocal trade policies.”
“I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense,” Trump told a joint press conference.
“Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the United States. These nations must pay what they owe.”
He rejected a description of his policies as “isolationist,” noting: “I’m a free trader but also a fair trader.”
“Millions of hardworking U.S citizens have been left behind by international commerce and together we can shape a future where all of our citizens have a path to financial security,” said the billionaire US president.
On immigration, another issue dividing the veteran chancellor and the new US president, Trump said immigration was a “privilege” and not a “right.”
Trump also stood by unproven claims that the Obama administration tapped his phones, and expressed solidarity with a surprised Merkel, whose government charged Washington in 2013 may have been spying on her.
“As far as wiretapping, I guess, by this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps,” Trump said to Merkel, who looked bewildered as she stared back at him from her podium.
In 2013 the German government said it had information that the United States may have monitored Merkel’s mobile phone, prompting her to call Obama to demand immediate clarification.
The Republican and Democratic leaders of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee issued a statement on Thursday rejecting Trump’s assertion that the Obama administration conducted surveillance on him.
They shook hands again at the end of the press conference and then exited the East Room together. The relationship between the two is a work in process and no one should expect things to change overnight.
Meanwhile, at his Palm Beach estate this weekend President Trump will continue to see what deals can be made to get the Ryan replacement plan through Congress. While Ryan is clearly playing the short game here, Trump understands the importance of slowing things down if that means getting what he wants out of the deal.
So, this bill is on Ryan to get done and if that does not happen Trump can come in, pick up the pieces. Then make a deal with his terms rather than those of the Speakers.
Some quotes in this story were from ASSOCIATED PRESS and CNN. Video from White House.gov from