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Donald Trump's refusal to shake Angela Merkel's hand sent Twitter into meltdown mode
President Trump tells Angela Merkel: 'At least we have something in common, perhaps'.
The Donald Trump - Angela Merkel had its moments.
First we had #NoHandshakeGate, where the press corp kept pushing for a handshake between the two leaders.
Second we had the Trump zinger to Obama, in reference to the wiretap scandal...
where the US President, when asked about claims that British intelligence assisted the Obama administration in wiretapping Trump Tower, told German Chancellor Angela Merkel, "at least we have something in common, perhaps."
Finally we have the NATO spending issue, where a tense Merkel will now be forced to dig into Germany's piggy bank to up their defence budget to fulfill NATO spending mandates.
Trump noted (via Zerhedge
)...NATO "has problems."
"[NATO] is obsolete, first because it was designed many, many years ago," Bild quoted Trump as saying about the trans-Atlantic military alliance. "Secondly, countries aren't paying what they should" and NATO "didn't deal with terrorism."
While those comments expanded on doubts Trump raised about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during his campaign, he reserved some of his most dismissive remarks for the EU and Merkel, whose open-border refugee policy he called a "catastrophic mistake."
FACT CHECK: Trump is 100% Correct - Germany has been under-funding its defense budget for years... NATO's 28-member countries committed in 2014 to spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense within a decade. But only the U.S. and four other members of the post-World War II military coalition are meeting the standard, Pence said.
Despite all the controversy, Trump was happy with the meeting, with the German Chancellor...
The German Chancellor has promised
to do her best to spend what Donald Trump calls a "fair share" on NATO during her first official meeting with the new US President, despite such commitments somewhat contradicting some senior German officials.
NATO's finances featured high on the agenda during the first face-to-face meeting between Trump and Angela Merkel. Trump predictably restated his commitment to making all the allies pay their "fair share" of two percent of GDP to maintain the military alliance.
"I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel our strong support for NATO, as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense," Trump said at the joint White House news conference on Friday. "Many nations owe vast sums of money from the past years, and it's very unfair to the US."
Merkel was reassured that "NATO was of prime importance for the US" and promptly pledged to meet Trump's demands and reach the spending target by 2024.
"I was gratified to know that the President underlined how important he thinks NATO," Merkel said. "We committed to this 2 percent goal until 2024 we - last year we increased our defense spending by 8 percent, and we're going to work again and again on this."
Merkel has seemingly softened her stance on the spending issue and did not make mention of her idea to widen the definition of "defense" to somewhat dodge Trump's demands.
US President Donald Trump ignored repeated media prompts to shake hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their meeting in the Oval Office.
Trump greeted Merkel with a handshake outside the building, but during their Oval Office photocall, apparently ignored the calls of the pool of reporters to shake the German leader's hand.
The rebuff even drew an amused expression from the chancellor.
AP footage of the leaders' encounter inside the Oval Office captures someone off-screen repeatedly calling out "Handshake!" amid the clicking of cameras.
© Jim Bourg / Reuters
The two leaders shook hands outside the White House on Thursday
See also: 'Immigration is a privilege, not a right,' Trump lectures Merkel in first meeting