It all began last week on the US president’s tour of several countries and included meetings with global leaders.
In these meetings there were two key moments. One of them when Trump questioned the Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), of which Germany is a member; and the latter when he refused to support the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global carbon dioxide emissions.
Last Thursday in Brussels, Trump criticized NATO partners for not spending more on defence, accused some members of paying “large sums of money,” and resumed attacks on Germany’s trade surplus with the United States.
In this regard, Merkel told reporters that “the whole debate on the climate was very difficult, not to say very disappointing.” “There is no indication as to whether or not the United States will follow the Paris Agreement,” she added.
A day later, Merkel raised the level of tensions, saying that Europe can no longer fully trust its allies, highlighting the wounds left by the G-7 and NATO meetings.
Merkel did not directly mention the president of the United States, although she said that the days when Europe could count on others were “ending.”
“I have experienced it in the last few days. Europeans really have to take our destiny with our own hands, of course in friendship with the United States, with the United Kingdom and, as good neighbours, where possible also with other countries, Russia, “Merkel added.
And Trump’s response came Tuesday saying that Germany’s trade and spending policies are very bad, deepening the tension between the two allies.
Trump turned to Twitter as soon as he started the day in the United States to attack Germany. “We have a HUGE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay MUCH LESS than they should in NATO (military) spending and military, very bad for the US. This will change,” Trump tweeted.
Trump’s words prompted Martin Schulz, leader of the German Social Democrats, to say that the president was “the destroyer of Western values” and that he was undermining peaceful cooperation between countries based on mutual respect and tolerance.