Steady drum of Trump’s anti-Germany remarks raises questions during NATO summit


BERLIN  | Germany’s export surplus, migration policies and defense spending have all been on President Donald Trump’s Twitter and diplomatic hit list. Now it’s Germany’s energy policy and joint gas pipeline venture with Moscow, which he says leaves Berlin “totally controlled” and “captive to Russia.”

The steady drum of anti-German rhetoric from one of the country’s traditionally closest friends has started people wondering whether to get ready for a messy breakup.

“It’s an attitude that long term for the German-American relationship is anything but helpful,” says lawmaker Rolf Muetzenich, a foreign affairs expert with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior coalition Social Democrats.

Trumps comments came Wednesday as NATO leaders were meeting in Brussels. Entering the talks, Merkel didn’t mention Trump but stressed Germany “can determine our own policies and make our own decisions.”

Trump says he’s thinking about American farmers even as he meets with NATO allies in Brussels.

Trump says in a two-part tweet Wednesday that he’s “in Brussels, but always thinking about our farmers.”

Critics have warned that Trump’s antagonistic trade moves will harm American farmers who grow crops like soybeans.

But Trump says “Farmers have done poorly for 15 years” and blames “Other countries’ trade barriers and tariffs” for “destroying their businesses.” He’s pledging to open “things up, better than ever before” but says “it can’t go too quickly.”

Trump says “I am fighting for a level playing field for our farmers, and will win!”

The tweet came as Trump attended a closed-door meeting of the North Atlantic Council. Staffers often send tweets for the president.