Trump meets Merkel: an encounter of the odd kind

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.

Both leaders share very different views on several issues, including trade and immigration.

It led to several uncomfortable moments, including Trump’s apparent refusal to shake Merkel’s hand during a photo op in the Oval office.

The odd encounter prompted a widespread reaction on Twitter in Germany, with media in the country hailing Merkel as courageous.

Another awkward moment occured during a press conference in the White House’s East Room. It came when a German reporter asked Trump why he was so scared of diversity in the media and why he kept making claims of fake news while at the same time repeating unsubstantiated allegations that he was wiretapped by the Obama administration. The same reporter asked Merkel how dangerous she thought the President’s trade policies were.

In reply, Trump said: ‘‘I am a trader, I am a fair trader, I am a trader that wants to see good for everybody worldwide, but I am not an isolationist by any stretch of the imagination. So I don’t know what newspaper you are reading, but I guess that would be another example of, as you say, fake news.’‘

Trump, who later flew to Mar-a-Lago Florida retreat following his first meeting with Merkel, has said he expects the US to do ‘‘fantastically well’‘ in trade with Germany.

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