One of President Trump's comments during a meeting with EU leaders Thursday isn't going over well in Germany. "The Germans are bad, very bad," the president said, as quoted by Der Spiegel. It came during a trade discussion, with Trump's reference being about auto sales. "See the millions of cars they are selling to the US?" Trump said, based on accounts of those in attendance. "Terrible. We will stop this." European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pushed back at the sentiment, arguing that global free trade benefits all participants, and CNBC reports that he downplayed Trump's comments on Friday. "He was not aggressive at all, and anyway we have taken the defense of the Germans," said Juncker.
A blogger at Slate takes issue with Trump's criticism, pointing out that BMW has a giant plant in South Carolina that churned out more than 411,000 vehicles last year, while Volkswagen has a big plant of its own in Tennessee. "I suppose Trump could try to stop the sales of German cars in the US," writes Daniel Gross. "But that would involve shutting down a bunch of factories on American soil that employ American workers and use a lot of US-produced parts," something that would indeed be "very bad." German leader Angela Merkel hasn't responded to Trump's comments, notes Bloomberg, but a government spokesman did. "A surplus is neither good nor evil," he said. "It’s the result of supply and demand." (Also making headlines: a Trump handshake and a shove.)