Would Angela Merkel acquiesce to Donald Trump’s call to meet in person at a Group of Seven summit in the U.S.? She might have annoyed the president in hesitating, but the German chancellor finally has an answer.
“This is about cooperation where ever it’s possible,” Merkel told reporters on Thursday. “Even if there are differences of opinion on certain things, whoever fights for multilateralism — and I am doing that — has the duty to make their contribution.”
Until now, Merkel has refrained from committing to a meeting face to face. Via her spokesman, she’d cited concerns about the pandemic and the travel it would entail as a reason for caution. Mere days after her perceived snub, Trump announced he was pulling out a significant number of U.S. troops stationed in Germany since World War II.
Trump has since then been trying to reschedule a G-7 meeting slated for June and now scheduled for late summer. At a news conference, Merkel was asked how eager she would be to come to the U.S. after CNN reported that Trump called her “stupid.”
She did not address the insult, but did speak to her sense of responsibility.
Merkel explained that she — and other world leaders committed to the global order — have an obligation to meet with their counterparts, even in the midst of strong disagreements.
Her comments carry weight, as the head of the strongest economy in Europe and a veteran in the international arena after 15 years in power.
The relationship between Washington and Berlin has deteriorated over the last three years, with the U.S. announcing last month that it could impose tariffs on $3.1 billion of products from Germany and other European countries over a trade dispute. Trump says Germany is “delinquent” on defense spending.
As U.S. elections in November draw nearer, Merkel is said to be bracing herself for more provocative policies from Trump.
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