Joe Biden: 'Something is up' with President says commentator
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The 78-year-old entered the White House in January and aides suggest he was keen to reaffirm relations with Europe which had been strained under predecessor Donald Trump. The US President saw Ms Merkel as the key to smoothing over trans-Atlantic ties, but the 67-year-old had other ideas.
Ms Merkel, who is stepping down as Chancellor, instead chose to spend time at her country cottage near Berlin, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The retreat is a favourite of Ms Merkel and she often stays there on weekends to tend to her vegetables and take walks by the lake.
The German Chancellor was reportedly told President Biden would have to speak to other world leaders before her and it is believed Ms Merkel did not pay much attention to the significance of the order.
President Biden made his first call from the Oval Office to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
This was followed by the leaders of the UK, Germany, Ireland and France – the exact order was not disclosed by the White House.
President Biden’s predecessor had endured a fractious relationship with Germany, raising concerns over Berlin’s growing economic ties with China and reliance on energy from Russia.
Mr Trump also attacked European members of NATO over funding and planned to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany, something later scrapped by President Biden.
In June 2020, Mr Trump said: “Germany’s not paying for it.”
He added: “So we’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills. It’s very simple, they’re delinquent.”
In an interview for the BBC documentary: Trump Takes on the World, France’s former envoy to the US, Gérard Araud, claimed Mr Trump did not have a favourable opinion of Ms Merkel or former Prime Minister Theresa May.
During a 2017 trip to France for Bastille Day celebrations, Mr Trump asked French President Emmanuel Macron what he thought of Ms Merkel and Ms May.
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Mr Araud claimed Mr Trump then interjected and said: “They are losers.”
President Biden and Ms Merkel rekindled ties between the two nations and significantly the German Chancellor became the first European leader to be invited to the White House.
Ms Merkel travelled to Washington in July and told Mr Biden: “I value the friendship.”
In a press conference, President Biden described two nations as “good friends” and reaffirmed support against “Russian aggression”.
Ms Merkel added: “We all share the same values; we all share the same determination to tackle the challenges of our times.”
The Prime Minister travelled to the US this week to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
Mr Johnson also held talks with President Biden in the White House on a number of issues including a US trade deal and climate change.
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