German Reporter Questions Trump About Wiretapping and Fake News Claims

March 18th 2017

During a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump, a German reporter questioned Trump about his ideas on trade and his tendency to label anything that he doesn’t agree with in media as “fake news.”

"Mr. President, 'America First,' don't you think this is going to weaken the European Union? And why are you so scared of diversity in the news and the media that you speak so often of as fake news,” the reporter said, before referencing Trump’s claims that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower as evidence that Trump repeatedly has said things that cannot be proven.

Trump did not respond to the reporter’s characterization of his relationship with media he is not in favor of while he stood by wiretapping claims throughout the press conference. He did, though, say that he is in favor of “fair trade” and that any implication of his policies as isolationist are “fake news.”

During the conference, Trump incorrectly characterized trade relations between the U.S. and Germany.

"Germany has done very well in its trade deals with the U.S., and I give them credit for it," Trump said during the press conference.

But Merkel responded with what's actually true: The U.S. has no direct trade deals with Germany and the terms of any trade between the countries are made by the European Union on behalf of its member states as a whole.

The meeting of the two has also been seen as a clash between schools of thought for how to run societies, with Merkel seen as a leader who has largely embraced Syrian refugees and Trump as one who has tried to block refugees' entrance into the United States multiple times. Merkel’s visit also contrasted how she and Trump differ in their approaches to dealing with the press.

The German reporter's question capped off what had immediately become an awkward meeting between the German Chancellor and the POTUS.

President Trump seemingly refused to shake Merkel’s hand when photographers surrounded them for their first public meeting in the Oval Office, even though he shook her hand in private earlier.

On Twitter, Trump went on to maintain that the meeting went smoothly, though not hesitating to call Germany out.

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