Key US-Europe relations called into question after Trump trip

President Trump's first overseas trip was 'extraordinarily successful, ' and his relations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel are 'fairly unbelievable, ' White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday.

"The Germans are bad, very bad", Mr. Trump had told European Union leaders last week, according to reports in the German press.

Merkel might not like hearing Trump complain that it's unfair for U.S. taxpayers to cough up more for defense than Germans, even as Germany's export-driven economy creates problems for those same Americans.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly lashed out at Germany in recent weeks, taking to Twitter on Tuesday in the latest attack - targeting Germany's military spending and trade practices.

They included clips of more negative reviews, including a State Department official who told the Daily Beast "When it comes to diplomacy, President Trump is a drunk tourist, ' and a quote from Merkel expressing displeasure that the US wouldn't agree to a joint G7 statement on climate change".

Merkel said she reached that conclusion after the G7 and NATO Summits, in which Trump took part and during which the differences between the policies of the new U.S. administration and its allies in Europe and elsewhere became patently obvious. She said Sunday at a beer-hall political rally that Europe can no longer fully rely on others, a message clearly about Washington, even if it was aimed largely at her own voters.

Action speaks louder than words - and if the Europeans don't get that, not even North Atlantic Treaty Organisation can save them from themselves. The statement was made hours after Trump complained about Germany in a tweet.

"Believe me, I know Trump and I know the people around him".

Brussels and Washington failed to get the TTIP deal approved before Trump's predecessor, president Barack Obama, left office.

"We can reassure Mrs. Merkel that we want to have a deep and special partnership so that we can continue to maintain European-wide security to keep us all safe from the terrorists overseas and those that are trying to be nurtured in our country", she said. Countries that run large trade surpluses often see their currencies gain in value, making their goods more expensive for foreigners and eventually reducing the surplus.

Germans point out they can't tell the European Central Bank what to do, since it's politically independent.

Threatening a global trade war with a critically important ally is never advisable but that didn't stop Trump from launching a second, then a third tweet across the Atlantic. He has a lot of respect for her.

Spicer also disputed the media's interpretation of Merkel's remarks that she felt that Europe could no longer depend on the United States.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump attend the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, at the ancient Greek Theater in Taormina, Sicily, on May 26. Instead, Mrs. Merkel made it clear that she had serious concerns about the continent's strategic future. "Since you're misquoting the chancellor, let me read what she actually said" Spicer claimed. She joins us on the line via Skype.

A like-minded pro-European and multilateralist, Macron gives Merkel a reliable partner with whom she can move forward in Europe on issues like defense and security cooperation, migration and euro zone reform.

  • Larry Hoffman