President Donald Trump‘s eight-day, five-country tour of the Middle East and Europe last week allowed him the opportunity to meet with a number of the world’s preeminent leaders. As has been his approach throughout his short political career, the president seized upon the occasion to pressure partners on his America-first designs, ruffling the feathers of some major allies.
Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — who was a close collaborator with Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama — are two of those allies on whom Trump’s visit seems to have left an impression. Each has spoken in the aftermath about their meetings with the president and the directions their countries may take should diplomatic relationships change.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer took a different tack at Tuesday’s press briefing, portraying the bond between Trump, Merkel and Europe as a whole as a strong one.
“I think the relationship that the president has had with Merkel he would describe as fairly unbelievable. They get along very well. He has a lot of respect for her,” said Spicer. “They continue to grow the bond that they had during their talks at the G7. And he views, not just Germany, but the rest of Europe, as an important American ally.”
With the path forward in question, here’s a look at some of the encounters that have defined Trump’s relationship with Germany and France so far in his presidency:
March 18: Trump and Merkel meet at the White House
The president’s first meeting with the German chancellor came during Merkel’s March visit to Washington, D.C. The pair previously exchanged public comments about one another’s policies, with Trump saying Merkel was ruining Germany and comparing her to his presidential campaign rival Hillary Clinton, and Merkel issuing critiques of Trump’s…