Trump snubs Merkel, refuses handshake at the Oval office

RSTV Bureau
Washington: President Donald Trump points to his ear piece as he waits to listen for the translation while participating in a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 17, 2017. AP/PTI

Washington: President Donald Trump points to his ear piece as he waits to listen for the translation while participating in a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 17, 2017. AP/PTI

US President Donald Trump refused a handshake with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Oval office in the White House during a photo op.

The video shows Trump reluctant to shake hands with the long-serving stateswoman, despite her suggestion for it, making the moment very awkward before the media.

However, earlier in the day, Trump was more cordial. Both leaders were seen shaking hands at the entrance of the White House, when Trump welcomed the German leader.

At the joint press conference, both world leaders took pains to downplay differences. The body language seemed to speak louder than words.

At the end of conference Trump told Merkel that they did have something in common, referring to being wiretapped under Barack Obama.

“As far as wiretapping, I guess, by this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps,” Trump said.

The remark did manage to draw a quizzical look from Merkel.

The cold tension between the leaders was visible. During his Presidential campaign, Trump had often Merkel, who leads Europe’s largest economy.

Both leaders also spoke about trade and economy. Trump said he expected the United States to do “fantastically well” in trade with Germany, while Merkel said she hoped the United States and the European Union could resume discussions on a trade agreement.

Trump maintained he is a proponent of free trade and is not an isolationist.

“I don’t believe in an isolationist policy. But I also believe a policy of trade should be a fair policy. The United States has been treated very, very unfairly by many countries over the years. That’s going to stop. But I’m not an isolationist,” he said.

“I’m a free trader, but I’m also a fair trader. Our free trade has led to a lot of bad things happening. You look at the deficits that we have, and you look at all of the accumulation of debt. We’re a very powerful country. We’re a very strong country,” Trump added.

Germany and the United States, he said, must work together towards fair and reciprocal trade policies that benefit people of both the countries.

Merkel on the other hand said she had a very good first exchange of views with Trump and was looking forward to the talks. She also added that Trump had agreed to attend the G-20 Summit in Germany later this year.

“We’re going to talk at some length over lunch about the issues. We say trade has to be rendered fairer. There has to be a win-win situation. We can talk about the details of that,” Merkel said looking forward to talks.

(With inputs from agencies)