Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Trump Stands By Unproven Wiretap Claim At Joint News Conference With Merkel

Trump Stands By Unproven Wiretap Claim At Joint News Conference With Merkel

President Donald Trump welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House Friday for a series of discussions on strengthening North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and fighting the Islamic State group.

Merkel failed to respond to this statement from Trump, however, responding with a facial expression of pure bewilderment.

Merkel said she wanted to speak with Trump about security and economic issues as well as about future worldwide cooperation.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Friday flatly denied that the USA apologized to the British government after he repeated an uncorroborated report that its intelligence agency had wiretapped President Trump with the blessing of then-President Barack Obama.

Dr Merkel had arrived at a snowy White House hoping to reverse a chill in relations after Mr Trump's incendiary election rhetoric. A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said, "We've received assurances from the White House that these allegations would not be repeated". "On a day filled with awkward moments", Politico noted, "probably none was more cringe-worthy to German eyes than the picture of the president's glamorous daughter ... perched next to no-nonsense Merkel as she praised her father's commitment to job creation". They disagree on values and how those values translate to policy, including immigration, trade, defense spending and the role of the European Union.

Trump, who as a candidate who called Merkel's migration stance "insane", offered little of the effusive praise to which Merkel became accustomed to from former President Barack Obama.

Photographers wondered if the leaders would shake hands.ere prepared for the traditional handshake, but no, Trump was not up for it.

She frequently leaned towards him but he stared straight ahead.

The US President also stood by unproven claims that the Obama administration tapped his phones, and expressed solidarity with a surprised Dr Merkel.

The statement comes after the chairman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr said that there is no indication that Trump was wiretapped during his election campaign.

Mr Trump said Mr Spicer was merely quoting a Fox News analyst when he made the comments. Perhaps the public shaming of Trump's latest move (or lack of move) will shed light on the subtle ways we treat men and women differently, world leader or work colleague.

Traveling to Washington with Merkel are CEOs of some of the top German companies with workers in the US, including car-maker BMW and tech company Siemens.

Mr Trump said he did not believe in isolationism, but that trade policy should be fairer.

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