Determined to downplay their differences, most pundits now consider Friday's face-to-face meeting between President Donald Trump and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel to have been an awkward affair.
"It's going to be a great policy for the United States, and worldwide", said Trump, adding that "many jobs are coming back to Michigan, Ohio, places where they were losing jobs". Surprisingly, the president ignored her request and kept sitting with his hands clasped. Mr. Trump, who was not looking at her at the moment, may also not have heard her, but the moment appeared to be a little uncomfortable.
"I am a fair trader. but I am not an isolationist", Trump said.
After Trump suggested they shared the experience of being covertly monitored by the previous government, the German chancellor couldn't hide her surprise, narrowing her eyes and wincing before staring at the president with barely disguised astonishment. The wiretapping allegations overshadowed the other aspects of the German Chancellor's visit, which is a crucial one for USA and German relations.
During a joint press conference, Trump was asked by a German reporter about his recent allegations that his predecessor spied on him during last year's allegations. He had criticised North Atlantic Treaty Organisation during his election campaign lashing out at members for not paying their "fair share" for their defence.
DONALD Trump has blasted cash rich Germany for owing "vast sums of money" to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. "The United States has been treated very unfairly by many countries over the years", he told her, reiterating a long standing talking point.
"These nations must pay what they owe", he said Friday.
Trump expressed appreciation for Merkel's assurance that Germany is committed to increasing its military spending.
During his presidential campaign, Mr Trump frequently accused the Chancellor of "ruining" Germany for allowing an influx of refugees and other migrants from Syria.
Officially, Germany can not negotiate economic deals without the European Union and it is expected that free trade will be high on Merkel's agenda, in the face of rising protectionist rhetoric from Trump. "I think it's too premature to expect any of substance to come out this becasue, in some respects, it's still a first date".
"It is much better to talk to one another, not about one another. That's something of which I'm deeply convinced". "We are trying to address the areas where we disagree....and find a compromise".