News reports of the the meeting and a joint press conference Friday at the White House were dominated by descriptions of “awkward” moments between the two leaders, including the president’s quip that he and Ms. Merkel had “something in common” in being wiretapped by U.S. spies.
Mr. Trump was referring to revelation in 2013 that President Obama authorized National Security Agency eavesdropping on her and his claim that Mr. Obama did the same to him during the 2016 presidential campaign.
National Public Radio declared the meeting “The Axis of Awkward.”
U.S. News and World Report dubbed it “Trump’s Awkward Merkel Summit.”
At the press conference, Ms. Merkel reiterated that Germany was committed to increasing defense spending in Germany and paying two percent of the country’s GDP to fund NATO, a figure NATO members agreed to in 2006.
“Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the United States. These nations must pay what they owe,” the president said at the press conference. “During our meeting, I thanked Chancellor Merkel for the German government’s commitment to increase defense spending and work toward contributing at least 2 percent of GDP.”
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