Merkel, who addressed the media through an interpreter, said: “It’s always better to talk to one another than about one another.”
A German journalist challenged Trump over his potential to weaken the EU and his criticism of “fake news” in the media. Trump said sarcastically: “Nice, friendly reporter.”
[Merkel] acknowledged that immigration and integration “have to be worked on” and said refugees should be given the opportunity to “shape their lives where they are”. These were issues that she and Trump had an “exchange of views” about, she added.
Trump cut back in to say: “All I want is fairness. Germany’s done very well in its trade deals with the United States and I give them credit for it.”
[H]e said Nafta has been a “disaster” for the US and promised: “We are going to be a very different country. We’re going to have great values … Our trade deals are going to be good solid deals, not deals that lead to closing plants and tremendous unemployment.”
Throughout his campaign, the US president had criticised the German leader’s handling of the refugee crisis, saying her behaviour was “insane” and that she was “ruining Germany”.
[T]here was an awkward moment in the Oval Office before the press conference when the two leaders sat for photographers, who shouted a request for them to shake hands.
Merkel turned to Trump and asked: “Do you want to have a handshake?” The president ignored her and kept looking straight ahead, his hands clasped together.