Trump criticizes Germany after Merkel questions U.S. reliability

On a day when German Chancellor Angela Merkel described India as a "reliable partner" in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in her country, US President Donald Trump blasted her over trade and defense related issues.

With all President Donald Trump has on his plate this week - staff shakeups, the Russian Federation probes and Jared Kushner; health care, budget, debt ceiling and the Paris climate deal - Trump on Tuesday morning made a decision to escalate his attack on Germany over trade.

Upping the war of words between the two countries, the leader of Gabriel's Social Democratic Party Martin Schulz on Tuesday called Trump "the destroyer of all Western values" and said Germany must resist the United States president's calls for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to increase their defense spending.

Relations between Berlin and Washington are in a hard phase but the United States is "bigger and better" than the current spat shows and ties will improve again, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Tuesday.

The comments at an election rally Sunday in Bavaria, where Merkel stressed that "we Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands", were widely seen as acknowledgement from Europe's most powerful leader of the changing dynamic of trans-Atlantic ties.

Mr Trump criticised Germany's trade surplus with the United States on Tuesday, tying the issue to Berlin's military spending.

The German foreign minister said it's not appropriate to communicate with USA from a beer tent and over Twitter. Merkel is said to have been particularly rankled by Trump's failure to "endorse language supporting free trade" or support the Paris climate agreement.

"They get along very well. We want the European Union to become stronger and India will play a positive role towards that through the medium of Germany", he told reporters at a joint briefing with Merkel.

"He said his dad is from Germany".

"This is a new situation - we lived for decades in the certainty that we could rely on each other as partners in an alliance, and this certainty no longer exists today". A bitter campaign between Merkel and Schulz notwithstanding, Schulz tore into Trump and even threw his support behind Merkel, saying "the chancellor represents all of us at summits like these, and I reject with outrage the way this man takes it upon himself to treat the head of our country's government".

"At the last IGC in New Delhi, we had set up a fast-track system for German companies to invest in India and that has shown very good results, especially the Mittlestand (medium enterprises) companies", Modi told reporters.

The eurozone's big three economies, Germany, France and Italy, are sharply at odds with the USA over climate change, the future of worldwide trade and the management of mass migration.

  • Leroy Wright