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Trump laughs about Obama wiretapping with Angela Merkel, describes much different meeting than press reported

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President Trump took to Twitter to reveal a “great” meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel despite “fake news” reports to the contrary.

“Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” Trump said in tweets Saturday, adding a note of criticism for Germany’s limited support of NATO.

“Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!” he wrote.

The president’s tweets, challenging the media’s representation of events, appeared to address news reports claiming the two leaders struggled in their meetings. Headlines abounded Friday denouncing what was characterized as a snub of Merkel when Trump appeared to ignore her request to shake hands in front of reporters in the Oval Office.

Although the president and Merkel have been critical of one another in the past, Trump reaffirmed America’s “strong support” for NATO while maintaining his position that NATO allies need to “pay their fair share” for the cost of defense.

“Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years, and it is very unfair to the United States,” Trump said. “These nations must pay what they owe.”

The president believed the U.S. would do “fantastically well” in its trade relations with Germany, and denied he is an isolationist. Responding to a reporter’s question about his “America first” agenda giving the appearance of isolationism, Trump called the suggestion “another example of, as you say, fake news.”

When asked about his accusation that former President Obama wiretapped him during the 2016 election, Trump tried to lighten the atmosphere at the joint news conference with Merkel.

“At least we have something in common, perhaps,” he said, eliciting laughs from the room and a slight smile from the German chancellor.

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Frieda Powers

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