Tensions show as Trump ignores Merkel's handshake offer in first meeting


In their first meeting at the White House since Trump's inauguration as president, Trump reprised his complaints that the US had been treated "very, very unfairly" and poured loaded praise over German trade officials for besting their American counterparts.

Trump stated this during the joint press conference with the German leader after their meeting in the White House on Friday, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

In brushing off the diplomatic row with Britain, Mr Trump also revived another - the Obama administration's monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's calls.

Earlier this month, Trump tweeted unsubstantiated claims that Obama had illegally wiretapped Trump Tower before last fall's election. At the same time, Trump once again stressed the need for an "equitable distribution" of the financial burden within the Alliance.

According to the latest figures, only five allies, including the USA, of the 28 met the required 2% of GDP defense expenditure benchmark in 2016.

Mrs Merkel maintained her composure when Mr Trump repeated his contention that former president Barack Obama may have tapped his phones in Trump Tower.

He said, "you shouldn't be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox".

Trump has also criticised countries, including Germany, which spend less than the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation guideline of two percent of their GDP on their military. The comment was likely a response to viral coverage of the frosty moment in which he declined to shake hands with the German Chancellor inside the Oval Office.

"(Germany) has, like many members, fallen short of its commitments, which is obviously not good", Benjamin said.

He said "many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the United States".

"At least we have something in common, perhaps", Trump said casually, referring to 2013 reports that the USA was monitoring Merkel's cellphone conversations.

When the topic moved to trade, Trump said the USA would do "fantastically well" in its trade relations with Germany.

"We've transferred competencies over to the European Union", Merkel said. That appeared to be far from the case on March 17, when the veteran German leader arrived hoping to reverse a chill in relations after Trump had said during his campaign a year ago that her decision to allow refugees into Germany was a "catastrophic mistake" and suggested she was "ruining Germany".