President Trump, Angela Merkel Hold Press Conference

Posted March 19, 2017

"We said nothing", Trump said in reference to the claims that GCHQ was responsible for spying on Trump Tower.

Though he said many countries owe "vast sums of money", Trump declined to identify Germany as one of them. "We talked about the worldwide situation, we discussed the shared interests that we have", said Merkel on her remarks.

Before coming to office in January, the U.S. president called Merkel´s acceptance of refugees a "catastrophic mistake" and said she was "ruining Germany". For her part, Merkel made clear that the two don't see eye to eye - and several times echoed the president's language of pursuing "fair" treatment.

In March 2017, Trump placed a temporary ban on refugees from six predominantly Muslim countries. That's no surprise, as Trump has previously called Merkel a "catastrophic leader" and accused her of "ruining Germany", according to the Washington Post.

James Mattis, the US Secretary of Defence, told European leaders at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in February the US would "moderate its commitment" to the group unless member states put in more money.

The meeting was the first between the new United States president and the long-serving stateswoman, who leads Europe's largest economy.

"The president has clearly set out his philosophy for what trade agreements ought to bring about", she said. "We don't want victory; we want fairness".

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Merkel, whose visit with her new US counterpart was marked by cool distance in their public appearances, was left to explain that trade negotiations are the province of the European Union, not her government, and that there are no such German interlocutors.

"Germany and America are connected by values of democracy, freedom and respect for the law and the dignity of man, independent of origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views", Merkel said in a statement shortly after Trump's election victory. But US officials have publicly praised the alliance since Trump took office, and Merkel is among European leaders who have outlined steps to boost defense spending to the target level.

Trump's fourth joint press conference with a foreign leader, which followed the meeting, was also one of his most tense after Trump and Merkel clashed over major policy differences and the basic role of their countries in the world.

Both German journalists asked about it point-blank. And so you shouldn't be talking to me.

Mr Trump has ruffled feathers in Germany by threatening its carmakers with tariffs and calling on Berlin to boost defence spending.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was one of a number of sticking points between Trump and Merkel's meeting on Friday. The two sides should at least strive to find "compromises that are fair to both".