In what could go down in history as one of the most embarrassing moments in politics, President Donald Trump refused to shake hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is also known as the most powerful woman in the world, during their first official meeting.
Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017
...vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017
As if it wasn’t bad enough, the POTUS said Germany owed “vast sums of money” to NATO and the U.S., when, in fact, “that’s not how it works,” according to former U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder.
“The U.S. decides for itself how much it contributes to defending NATO. This is not a financial transaction, where NATO countries pay the U.S. to defend them. It is part of our treaty commitment,” Daalder added.
Now, it appears, Germany has had enough of Trump’s shenanigans.
"The defense spending also goes to U.N.-peace mission, into European missions and towards our contributions to the fight against ISIS terrorism,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen shot back, in response to Trump’s NATO tweet.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel dealt another blow to Trump’s ignorance of matters pertaining to security.
“A sensible security policy is not just buying tanks, driving defense spending to insane heights and escalating the arms race,” said Gabriel.
The comments come days after it was revealed that the White House plan would add “$54 billion to the defense budget while slashing programs for the poor and the environment.”
“A reasonable policy means crisis-prevention, stabilization of weak states, economic development and the fight against hunger, climate change and water scarcity,” Gabriel continued.
The German minister previously called Trump “the pioneer of a new authoritarian and chauvinist international movement” and even referred to him as a “threat.”
Trump recently made headlines in Germany for his tense and awkward meeting last week with Merkel, and for demanding that Berlin pay more for the “very expensive defense” the United States provides.
During the Obama administration, the U.S.-German relationship was strong on a leadership level primarily because of the close friendship between Barack Obama and Merkel.
In fact, Obama chose the German chancellor as the last foreign leader he called before Donald Trump took office.
And now, Obama’s successor won’t even shake hands with Merkel — not even for a photo op.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Brian Snyder