Wiretapping Joke Doesn't Help Tense Trump-Merkel Meeting

President says he and Merkel 'have something in common'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2017 3:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a joint press conference following a meeting Friday, and NPR reports it was "wide ranging and occasionally tense." That's no surprise, as Trump has previously called Merkel a "catastrophic leader" and accused her of "ruining Germany," according to the Washington Post. While Trump ignored questions about his previous comments regarding Merkel, the German chancellor did say it was "much better to talk to one another, not about one another."

Trump also declined to answer a question from a German reporter about his claim that Trump Tower was wiretapped, instead turning it into a joke that drew a cold reaction from Merkel, CNN reports. "At least we have something in common, perhaps," Trump said, apparently referencing the 2013 revelation that the NSA had listened in on phone calls by Merkel and other European leaders. Merkel had been understandably upset by that development. NATO was a major topic of both the meeting and press conference, with Trump saying NATO members must pay "what they owe." Germany is currently paying 1.2% of its GDP to NATO, instead of the 2% goal. Regardless, Trump thanked Merkel for working to hit that goal, and Merkel said she's "gratified to know" that NATO is "important" to Trump. (Read more Angela Merkel stories.)

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