Members of the German press corps are deeply offended that President Trump did not arrange for the White House honor guard welcome for Chancellor Angela Merkel.
This time there were no flags waving. Not even an honor guard present in front of the West Wing. On a rainy Friday afternoon, Angela Merkel arrived at the White House without the fanfares, and no red carpet rolled out. In person, Merkel looks very dignified. Her face is much softer than what appears through the camera lenses. While Trump kissed her on a cheek while photographers were snapping, it did not seem that the German iron lady was the least bit impressed.
Photo: William Moon
The big contrast to the reception Emmanuel Macron had just a few days ago was evident to all of us who are regular members of the White House press corps, but was it for the Germans? I set myself out to elicit the impressions of our guests. While unlike the French, it took them some time to warm up to me and start talking, they eventually started sharing their outrage and discontent about what, in their view, was the mistreatment of Merkel as if hashing over some private matter. “When Netanyahu comes to the White House and he comes often, there is usually an honor guard to salute the Israeli leader”, they said, “why no honor guard for Angela Merkel?” The words of the late Christopher Hitchens immediately came to mind: “Ah, please never forget how useful the obvious can be”. What the Germans reporters were saying was self-evident.
Germans consider Trump to be a bigger threat to the world than Putin
As we were waiting to be escorted to the East Room, the German journalists started opening up more about their sentiments regarding Trump, telling me that the “Germans consider Trump to be a bigger threat to the world than Putin.”
“Macron is pragmatic, but we cannot cross that line, the line of our values and morals and accept Trump in the way the French do”, a consicous-ridden reporter from Berlin told me.
The relationship between Trump and Merkel is a cold one
President Donald J. Trump walks German Chancellor Angela Merkel from the West Wing Colonnade, through the Diplomatic Reception Room to the South Portico for her departure from the White House, Friday, April 27, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead[/caption]
The negative energy between Trump and Merkel filled the entire East Room and kept increasing through the whole presser. I was witnessing one extremely cold and plain exchange between two leaders. Watching history unfold in front of my eyes, I don’t remember that it was ever like this at a Joint Press Conference at the White House. It’s the midnight of the century.