Trump attacks media again, calls meeting with Merkel 'GREAT'

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Trump attacks media again, calls meeting with Merkel 'GREAT'

But his recent snub at German Chancellor Angela Merkel just took the awkwardness to a whole new level.

Speaking on Friday ahead of Merkel's trip to Washington, Ursula von der Leyen told AFP that the two per cent target paints an incomplete picture of actual contributions, saying member states that take part in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation operations and exercises or contribute personnel and hardware should get credit toward the two per cent goal.

The Merkel-Trump meeting on Friday (March 17) was supposed to mark a fresh start after the Republican leader had unabashedly criticised Merkel for her refugee policy in Germany throughout his campaign trail.

The claim has been rejected by the leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees, and earlier Friday a Republican lawmaker called on Trump to apologize.

Mark Garrison: So Trump and his team have attacked Germany over its massive trade surplus with America, attacked the tax system in Europe, and accused Germany of using the European Union and the weak currency to get its way.

Merkel said she wanted to speak with Trump, who was elected in November, about security and economic issues as well as about future global cooperation. But after the two sparred over immigration and the future of Europe in the course of the 2016 US presidential campaign, it was readily apparent that the fissures opened up between the two countries are still gaping.

Prior to going into their meeting, the ostensible allies appeared noticeably at odds during an Oval Office photo opportunity.

Merkel was angered by reports in 2010 that the National Security Agency had tapped her phone with the permission of Obama.

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Trump's response was a blank stare into the cameras while he slightly shifted his head.

After that she turned to Trump and smiled, but he gripped the edges of the podium, ignored her, stared straight ahead, and started talking about all the jobs he would create in the American Midwest.

Trump's comments came at the end of a rather awkward bilateral press conference between the USA and one of its closest global allies, after Trump routinely mocked Merkel throughout the presidential campaign.

"I'm not an isolationist".

Mr Trump said Mr Spicer was merely quoting a Fox News analyst when he made the comments.

The biggest source of tension for President Trump is Germany's $54 billion trade surplus, which is largely due to the auto industry. Obama was full of praise for Merkel as he left office, calling her leadership of Germany a model for the world.

President Donald Trump has said Germany owes North Atlantic Treaty Organisation "vast sums of money" and should pay the United States more for defending it.

Merkel said Germany had committed to increasing its military spending to two per cent of GDP, a target North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states formally agreed in 2014 to reach within 10 years.

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