President Donald Trump and longtime German leader, Angela Merkel, are set to meet for the first time Tuesday. The meeting between the West’s two pre-eminent leaders will be closely studied as both have contrasting views on a range of issues from Russia policy to refugees.
In a press briefing by White House press secretary, Sean Spicer Friday, he said: “There’s a lot of excitement on both sides of the ocean for this trip. I know that we are looking forward to meeting with the Chancellor and her team…There’s a lot of trade and economic interests on both sides, and obviously there’s an element of national security that we share.”
Trump has been vocal about his opinions about Merkel, whose support for accepting Syrian refugees had been called as “insane,” and “ruining Germany” in a tweet by Trump.
For months, Trump has been critical of Merkel’s immigration policies and has accused her of ruining Germany by accepting refugees. He even predicted that voters would overthrow her but simultaneously described her as a great world leader.
Although, Trump has been disapproving of Merkel’s policies on many issues in the past, administration officials have indicated in a press briefing, the goal of Tuesday’s meeting will “have a positive interaction.” They said: “The level of interaction between this administration and the German government has so far been frequent and robust.” “Germany is one of NATO’s strongest member states, and the President looks forward to talking with the Chancellor about how to strengthen the NATO alliance, including by ensuring that all allies shoulder the proper share of the burden for maintaining our collective defense.”
The officials said: “The United States is committed to strengthening our political defense, security and economic relationship with Germany and with Europe more broadly.”
Although as a candidate, Trump had promised to do away with multilateral trade deals, and he withdrew the U.S. too from the Trans-Pacific Partnership as one of his first acts in office, but when it comes to Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), officials have expressed uncertainty over its withdrawal as Trump is considering to continue it as a two-party deal because of the European Union’s structure, the press briefing stated.
The other issues to be discussed will be taking steps to fight terrorism and resolve the conflict in Ukraine, White House officials had said Friday.