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Trump's Awkward Meeting With German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump during a meeting Friday. (Screen shot via CNN)
Nika Knight / Common Dreams

By Nika Knight / Common Dreams

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel met with President Donald Trump for the first time Friday, and the encounter between the liberal European leader and the far-right, demagogic president was, if anything, extraordinarily awkward.

Trump ignored Merkel’s request for a handshake, provoked a look of disbelief when he repeated his allegations that President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones—”we have that in common,” he told Merkel—and called a German newspaper “fake news” after a reporter asked him a question. He appeared to find it difficult to bring himself to look at the German chancellor. [Truthdig editor’s note: Trump’s exact words in replying to the reporter were, in part, “… I am not an isolationist by any stretch of the imagination, so I don’t know what newspaper you’re reading, but I guess that would be another example of, as you say, fake news.”]

And while many expected that Merkel, who has advocated welcoming and resettling refugees even as other European countries have closed their borders to asylum seekers, would clash with Trump over immigration, Trump instead appeared to entirely dodge her appeal for more humane immigration policies.

On Twitter, disbelief and embarrassment was the overwhelming response to what one pundit described as the “most remarkable/bizarre press conference between two allies I’ve ever seen”:

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