President Trump came face-to-face Friday with a putative rival for global leadership, German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The chancellor arrived at the White House after months of back-and-forth with the new president, including Trump’s claims that Merkel is “ruining” Germany by letting in too many refugees and that Germany is using the European Union as a “vehicle” for its own economic ambitions.
Merkel, meanwhile, has questioned Trump over his criticism of the EU, NATO, free-trade agreements and other multi-national agreements. Before leaving for the United States, Merkel said she would be representing Europe as well as Germany in her meeting with Trump.
“I will of course point out that for us, our country and our membership in the European Union are two sides of the same coin,” Merkel told reporters.
The two leaders had little to say during a brief photo opportunity in the Oval Office.
“We talked about lots of things,” Trump told reporters. The president greeted the chancellor at the door of the West Wing after her motorcade pulled up.
“The president and the chancellor have a series of meetings, and then will host a round table focusing on the importance of vocational training with both American and German business leaders,” said White House spokesman Sean Spicer.
The two leaders are also scheduled to conduct a brief news conference. One possible question: Trump’s unproven claim that predecessor Barack Obama had him wiretapped in the runup to last year’s presidential election.
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