Trump has clashed with plenty of US allies but he has appeared to have special enmity for Merkel, whose liberal, technocratic approach on issues from the coronavirus to immigration is at stark odds with the New York mogul’s in-your-face populism.
After the Pentagon made the cuts official, Trump said he was acting because Germany had failed to meet the NATO goal of spending two percent of GDP on defense — although Italy and Belgium, which will take some of the US troops, spend even less.
“Germany is delinquent. They haven’t paid their fees,” Trump told reporters.
“The United States has been taken advantage of on trade and on military and on everything else for many years, and I’m here and I’ve been straightening it out.” …
Trump’s 2016 election shocked US allies but most tried to deal with him. Japanese, British and French leaders all flattered Trump with invitations, even if French President Emmanuel Macron was also vocal on disagreements over issues ranging from climate change to Iran.
Merkel from the start did little to hide her disdain for Trump.
Several months after Trump took office, Merkel made waves when she said that the United States under Trump along with Britain, which voted to leave the EU, were no longer reliable partners and that Europe should “take its fate into its own hands.”