President Donald Trump said he had a “great meeting” with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of a NATO summit on Wednesday, hours after he fiercely criticized German policy on defense spending and gas imports from Russia.
The tone of their remarks contrasted with an earlier breakfast between Trump and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, when the Republican president said Germany’s reliance on Russian energy left it “in the control” of Moscow and Merkel later referred to her youth in Soviet-run East Germany to insist Berlin was now fully sovereign.
“We’re having a great meeting. We’re discussing military expenditure … talking about trade,” Trump told reporters who were allowed into the meeting room. “We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor. We have a tremendous relationship with Germany,” he added, saying he had raised his concerns about a new gas pipeline planned from Russia to Germany.