President Trump’s had a few less-than-complimentary things to say about Germany over the years.
Nevertheless, it is so– Donald’s racked up a fair share of brushes with his motherland’s chancellor, Angela Merkel.
In fact, the first time she visited the White House after his inauguration, he didn’t shake her hand.
Furthermore, the two are a ways apart on policy, with Germany opening its doors broadly to refugees and immigrants as Trump looks to preserve the American way by strengthening border security and making better business decisions, including those which hit Germany with tariffs.
In an October 2015 Face the Nation interview, Donald called Merkel’s immigration policies “insane.” He’s continued along those lines (and he isn’t wrong).
In December of that same year, when Chancellor Angela was chosen as the Time Person of the Year, Trump tweeted his disdain:
“I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite [sic] They picked person [and sic again] who is ruining Germany.”
I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite They picked person who is ruining Germany
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2015
Trump has also excoriated Merkel’s defense spending, last year asserting the U.S. was owed “vast sums of money” by Germany due to its failure to meet NATO’s goal for spending.
And yet, even as he did that, he trumpeted the greatness of their meeting at the time:
“Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”
Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017
…vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017
Wanna see something hilarious? Here ya go:
It certainly looks like Chancellor Merkel enjoyed the meeting with you as well pic.twitter.com/uqY7Or8DAG
— Rob Szczerba (@RJSzczerba) March 18, 2017
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline. … So we have to talk about the billions and billions of dollars that’s being paid to the country that we’re supposed to be protecting you against. … Now, if you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply.”
Merkel defended herself, emphasizing Germany’s separation from Russia:
“I wanted to say that, because of current events, I have witnessed this myself, that a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union. And I am very happy that we are today unified in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany.”
Nonetheless, later in the day, Trump claimed something that was very…well…Trumpish:
“We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor. We have a tremendous relationship with Germany.”
Or is it? Merkel played politics as well:
“I am very pleased, indeed, to have this opportunity here for this exchange of views. … I think they’re very important to have those exchanges together. Because after all, we are partners, we are good partners, and we wish to continue to cooperate in the future.”
So what does this mean for the future?
Not everyone in Washington is psyched about Trump’s comments toward Merkel. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, for example:
“I have really the highest opinion of her and those who are with her. I think sometimes you can be a little too critical of the other counterparts. I don’t think we should be critical. She’s really good.”
Tennesse Sen. Bob Corker agrees:
“I couldn’t agree more that every country needs to get to 2 percent, especially Germany. At the same time, people are making improvements, and I think just harsh rhetoric relative to NATO partners is not something that takes us to a good place. … The German people have a diminished view of our nation right now. At the end of the day, what is important is what our citizens think and feel, but it’s just unnecessary. It’s unnecessary for us to be in this place.”
But the Heritage Foundation’s Jim Crafano says all of this is no sweat:
“At the end of the day, the U.S.-German strategic partnership is going to be fine. The bedrock of the relationship is fine.”
He’s probably right; politics is a world of grandstanding, and with regard to international affairs, the best at it know when to be tough on behalf of their constituents yet tolerable enough to move forward to the benefit of voters. These are, after all, two nations whose leaders are elected. If not, it would be a very different story (see what I mean by that here).
Being Europe’s largest economy, Germany — and our relationship with it — is doubtlessly important. And despite the lunatic delusions of the Left, Trump didn’t get where he is as a businessman by making important people angry and taking his toys and going home. He’s the artist of the deal (see more about that here and here), and I, for one, trust him to ultimately play his cards right with Merkel. She can’t be too bad at diplomacy, either; she’s enjoying her fourth term.
I think they’ll work things out fine.
But am I wrong? What’s your opinion? Sound off in the Comments section below.
For something different, here’s my coverage of an attack on Melania.
Otherwise, here’s my piece on Podesta saying Comey blew the election for Hillary.
How about an article on Alex Baldwin for President?
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