‘Unsophisticated, political neophyte’, German press blasts Trump over Merkel handshake snub

‘Unsophisticated, political neophyte’, German press blasts Trump over Merkel handshake snub
March 18 19:37 2017

Donald Trump is ‘an unsophisticated yet self-absorbed political neophyte’, according to sections of the German press – in comparison to ‘experienced’ Angela Merkel.

The two ‘could hardly be more contradictory’, according to reports of their ‘awkward’ meeting yesterday.

The US President refused to shake the German Chancellor’s hand, a moment which German newspapers have seized on to highlight the huge differences between the two.

Tabloid Bild carried a picture of the world leaders sitting awkwardly next to each other, while also pointing out how ‘unusual’ it was that Merkel found herself seated next to Trump’s daughter Ivanka – who has no official role in the administration.

It said the German leader appeared ‘irritated’.

Meeting for the first time – a few days behind schedule after Merkel’s visit was postponed due to snow – the two leaders got off to a good start, with a warm welcome outside the West Wing.

However, the meeting soon turned cold as Trump blew off an attempted handshake in the Oval Office and disagreed publicly with Merkel on almost every major international issue.

Weekly news magazine Der Spiegel, which previously ran a controversial cartoon of Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty, also picked up on the awkwardness between the two leaders, declaring that ‘Merkel and Trump do not work’.

‘There are two politicians who could hardly be more contradictory’, the news magazine added.

Der Spiegel described Trump as ‘an unsophisticated yet self-absorbed political neophyte,’ while in contrast said Merkel is ‘one of the most experienced leaders in the world, one who many see as being the last defender of democracy and Western values.’

 Other newspapers pointed out that Merkel was having to navigate the fact that many of her citizens are hostile to the American president, and the chancellor – who is facing a stiff fight to hold onto her job in the upcoming elections – may not want to seem too warm towards Trump.

‘A vast majority of the German public isn’t well-inclined towards Trump,’ said Süddeutsche Zeitung. ‘A lot of people of people will watch closely how Merkel conducts herself.’

‘Finding the right measure of warmth and distance won’t be easy,’ Der Spiegel added.

Frankfurter Allgemeine agreed, said ‘the first joint appearance of Donald Trump and Angela Merkel in the Oval Office was an “awkward moment”‘

Frankfurter Allgemeine agreed, saying: ‘the first joint appearance of Donald Trump and Angela Merkel in the Oval Office was an “awkward moment”.’

Hamburger Morgenpost also pointed out that ‘the meeting falls into a difficult phase of German-American relations’, reminding readers that ‘Trump had attacked Merkel in his election campaign and also after the election in November’, largely over her refugee policy.

The papers also picked up on Merkel’s failure to react to Trump’s sensational claim of ‘at least we have something in common, perhaps’, in relation to wire-tapping.

Trump had been asked about his claim that Barack Obama had spied on him, with a follow-up allegation from his press secretary claiming that he may have relied on British intelligence to do it.

The British government slammed  the claim as ‘nonsense.’

Hamburger Morgenpost pointed out that ‘the meeting falls into a difficult phase of German-American relations’

Merkel was the subject of surveillance during Obama’s tenure, according to documents that were leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.

Describing Trump’s attempt at humour, Frankfurter Allgemeine said ‘the unconventional charm offensive spoils.’

‘The Chancellor does not laugh, only makes a irritated face. “Awkward,” the Americans say at such moments’, the newspaper wrote.

German reporters were praised by their U.S. colleagues for taking a tough line of questioning with the president.

Trump sarcastically referred to German news agency reporter Kristina Dunz as a ‘nice friendly reporter’ when she probed him about his ‘dangerous isolationist policies.’

Politico reporter Tara Palmeri tweeted saying: ‘The German press shamed us’, while dozens of other American journalists shared their admiration for their German counterparts.

President Trump defended his chilly summit with Merkel on Twitter Saturday, insisting it was a ‘great meeting’ – and immediately blasting Germany for owing what he said were ‘vast sums of money’ to NATO.

He claimed that all reports criticizing their meeting were ‘fake news’.

‘Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,’ Trump tweeted Saturday morning.

‘Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!’

[Daily Mail UK]