German Chancellor ‘rebuffed’ U.S. President Donald Trump’s invitation to attend next month’s G7 Summit, the German media reports. “As of today, considering the overall pandemic situation, she cannot agree to her personal participation on a trip to Washington,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Friday.

“Merkel Spurns Trump,” Germany’s state-run ARD news outlet reported. A gathering of the world leaders hosted by the U.S. president at this time could boost his reelection prospects, the German state broadcaster feared. The “summit could turn out a success for Trump, who will get good images for his election campaign,” ARD added.

The White House sees the proposed summit as a major sign of normalcy after months of Wuhan coronavirus-induced emergency. President Trump believes there would be “no greater example of reopening” than hosting top world leaders at the summit in Washington, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said on Tuesday.

Germany’s ARD reported Merkel’s decision: 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will apparently not fly to the G7 summit in the United States. President Donald Trump had invited her to the [meeting] in June in Washington. Chancellor thanked Trump for the invitation, the government spokesman said. As of today, Merkel “cannot agree to her personal participation, i.e., travel to Washington, considering the overall pandemic situation.” Chancellor will continue to monitor the development of the pandemic. (…)

For weeks, Trump has been trying to spread optimism regarding the coronavirus pandemic and sees the prospect for country’s fast recovery. He has been vehemently urging the states for a speedy normalization and the lifting of restrictions despite many cases of infection and deaths. 

Critics of the president believe that he is worried about his reelection prospects, given the coronavirus situation and rise in unemployment numbers. A “real”  [in-person] summit could turn out a success for Trump, who will get good images for his election campaign.” [translated by the author]

Merkel’s government has been upset by the foreign policy pursued by the current administration. President Trump has slammed Germany for repeatedly defaulting on its NATO spending pledge. He has opposed the Russo-German gas pipeline which seeks to connect Russian gas fields to central European countries. “They pay billions of dollars to Russia and we have to defend them against Russia,” Trump said at the 2018 NATO summit. Berlin has been spearheading the efforts to bypass economic sanctions placed on Iran after the U.S. withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal.

Merkel and top figures of her government made no secret of their disapproval of the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The German political establishment had been very supportive of the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. 

Ahead of the presidential election, leading German politicians viciously attacked Trump’s candidacy, much to the delight of the mainstream media and the Clinton campaign. The then-German Foreign Minister, and country’s current President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier called candidate Trump a “hate preacher.” German Vice-Chancellor at that time, Sigmar Gabriel, warned the U.S. voters of the impending economic doom if they were to vote for Trump. A Trump victory would mean “shrinking GDP, fewer jobs and higher unemployment,” Merkel’s right-hand man predicted. The support went beyond the rhetoric. As I reported in November 2016, German government handed over millions of euros to the Clinton Foundation in the election year.

Unlike Merkel, the British Prime Minister has agreed to attend the summit. “Boris Johnson agrees to go to G7 summit in person in phone call with Donald Trump,” UK’s Daily Mail reported on Friday. “Both leaders agreed it was important for the summit to meet in person if possible.”

President Trump slams Germany over Russian gas pipeline (July 2018)

[Cover image via YouTube]

 

 
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