German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to call the U.S. a “foe” of the European Union, despite President Donald Trump’s claims, and vowed to work through the “pressure” that his presidency has put on bilateral relations.
Merkel gave her views on a handful of issues in a broad press conference on Friday, including the challenges she has faced from within her fractious coalition in government and Trump’s recent tumultuous trip through Europe. The German leader, who once admitted Trump’s U-turn on a communique signed with Germany and five other partners was “depressing,” remained diplomatic when asked about her relationship with the president.
“One can say that the values, or our usual framework, are under strong pressure at the moment,” she said, according to a translation by Reuters. “However, the transatlantic working relationship, including with the U.S. president, is crucial for us and I will carry on cultivating it,” she added.
Trump has repeatedly lambasted U.S. allies in Europe and used Germany as an example of an economically strong nation, which is increasing its defense spending too slowly, according to him. While at NATO last week, Trump chose his breakfast with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to complain about Germany. He asked about Berlin’s energy policy and whether buying gas from Russia does make Germany a “captive” of Russia. The puzzled diplomat attempted to segue into his area of expertise in extolling the virtues of the military alliance.