President Donald Trump arrived in Brussels for a NATO Summit on Wednesday and hit the ground running by immediately taking shots at Germany. His comments drew a sharp pushback from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Trump was at it early — during breakfast — when he opined that Germany was “totally controlled” by Russia. The comment was in reference to Germany striking a deal to purchase natural gas from Russia via a new pipeline that’s expected to open next year. “Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they’re getting 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia — and a new pipeline. You tell me if that’s appropriate,” Trump said to the NATO allies gathered at the breakfast table. “Germany is a captive of Russia.”
The provocative remarks did not sit well Merkel, who pushed back with a statement of her own.
“I myself experienced a part of Germany that was controlled by the Soviet Union, and I am very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany,” Merkel told reporters just before making her way into the NATO building. “We decide our own policies and make our own decisions, and that’s very good.” Watch her comments below.
"I myself lived through a part of Germany being controlled by the Soviet Union. And I am very happy that today we are united in freedom," Angela Merkel said in response to Donald Trump's comments that Berlin is now "totally controlled by Russia." pic.twitter.com/QyPPegvSLO
— POLITICO (@politico) July 11, 2018
While the morning got off to a rocky start between the two world leaders, who have been closely watched and had less than warm exchanges in the past, things seemed to mellow between them by later in the day, after they held a private meetings on the sidelines of the summit.
“We had a great meeting discussing military expenditure. We’re talking about trade. We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor. We have a tremendous relationship with Germany. You’ve had tremendous success and I congratulate you,” Trump said to Merkel.
Merkel, through a translator, replied, “I am pleased to have this opportunity to be here for this exchange of views,” Trump nodded as he listed to the translator reveal Merkel’s thoughts on working toward “the future of our trade relations.” Her comments ended with: “We are partners, we are good partners, and wish to continue to cooperate in the future.” Watch that exchange below.
Trump praises Merkel, Germany: "We had a great meeting discussing military expenditure. We're talking about trade. We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor. We have a tremendous relationship with Germany. You've had tremendous success and I congratulate you." pic.twitter.com/NZpDb68cTN
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) July 11, 2018
Read the full story at The Associated Press.