Donald Trump, who launched a tirade of criticism against Germany at Wednesday's Nato summit, has not always been so hostile towards the country.
Only a few years ago he was touting it as the land of his forefathers.
“I have great German heritage. I’m very proud of it. Great place,” he told a documentary about the village of Kallstadt, in western Germany, where his grandfather, Frederick Trump, was born and lived until he emigrated to the US as a teenager.
In 1999, Mr Trump served as Grand Marshal of the annual German-American parade in New York City. And in 2011 he recorded a video message for the event in which he said: “I’m a proud German-American”.
But the story of his German heritage is complicated. Until the 1980s, Mr Trump maintained that his grandfather came from Sweden.
That’s the version of the story in his book, The Art of the Deal, and he told it so many times that at one point the city of Karlstadt in Sweden was considering founding a museum in his honour.
The only problem was it wasn’t true. Frederick Trump, or Friedrich as he was originally named, was born in Germany, in the same village as the parents of Henry J Heinz, who would go on to found Heinz Tomato Ketchup.
Mr Trump’s grandfather emigrated to the US in 1885 and made his fortune during the Yukon gold rush in Alaska, where he established several hotels that doubled as brothels.
The story he came from Sweden appears to have been an attempt by the family to obscure their origins amid popular anti-German feeling in the US following the First World War.
According to the New York Times and the Boston Globe, Donald Trump’s father made repeated attempts to hide his German roots.
Historians say this may have been because many of his real estate customers were Jewish, and would have been reluctant to buy from a German following the Second World War.
Mr Trump kept up the story his father was Swedish for many years before finally dropping it. , "Well, he spent time in Sweden,” he told the Boston Globe.
“And he talked about Swedish because of the fact, you know, we happened to be at war with Germany, which I guess makes sense in a lot of ways doesn't it? But he spent time in Sweden.”
What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2018
In fairness to the president, his latest remarks did not appear to be aimed at Germany as a country so much as at the policies of Angela Merkel’s government.
According to US press reports, Mr Trump would like to see Mrs Merkel replaced as German chancellor, and he may have hoped to have undermine her support at a time when she is already weakened by domestic troubles.
But the initial indications were that his broadside served to rally Germans behind Mrs Merkel.