Trump went after Germany loudly at the opening of the NATO conference. But when he had a chance to go head-to-head with Chancellor Angela Merkel, he went meek.
Trump once again went on the attack against Germany, one of America's closest allies. But soon after, in a face-to-face meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he was too cowardly to repeat his rhetoric.
At the start of the annual meeting of NATO leaders, Trump said Germany was "totally controlled by Russia" and also said the country was a "captive of Russia."
Soon after his tirade, Merkel addressed Trump's smear, saying, "Because of given circumstances I want to point out one thing: I experienced the Soviet occupation of one part of Germany myself. It is good that we are independent today."
But when he went face to face with the German leader, Trump retreated from his earlier hostility.
Seated just inches away from Merkel, Trump squirmed in his seat and said, "We have a very very good relationship with the Chancellor, we have a tremendous relationship with Germany."
He also congratulated Merkel on her "tremendous success."
All of the bully talk was suddenly gone.
Trump has fostered a hostile relationship with Merkel since early in his administration, bucking against the trend of cooperation that has existed between both countries since the end of World War II.
When Merkel first visited the White House under Trump, he wouldn't even shake her hand or look her in the eye during their photo op together.
His treatment of Germany is in alignment with one of Russian president Vladimir Putin's goals, namely fraying Western alliances while strengthening his own hand on the international stage.
Trump couldn't help but remain true to Putin with his bluster, however, but despite his slashing attacks, when he had to face Merkel head-to-head he retreated to niceties and balked.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.