White House says Donald Trump, Germany's Merkel share excellent relations

"This is a healthy relationship".

BRUSSELS ― Donald Trump's first trip overseas as president showed "how quickly and decisively" he "is acting to strengthen alliances", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday.

"They get along very well", he told reporters at the White House.

Trump also has repeatedly demanded that Germany meet the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance's defence spending target of 2% of gross domestic product and has criticized Merkel's open-door migration policy.

According to German media, he called the country "very bad" because of its trade deficit with the U.S.

Earlier this week she hit out at Britain and the United States saying they are no longer reliable partners and Europe had to "take its fate into its own hands".

The foreign minister later echoed previous statements by Chancellor Angela Merkel, who over the weekend sent shockwaves through Western capitals by arguing that Europe can not rely completely on the U.S. or Britain.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel was blunter on Monday, slamming the United States president's "short-sighted" policies that have "weakened the West" and hurt European interests.

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In a reelection campaign speech on Sunday, Merkel said the past few days had shown her that "times in which we could rely fully on others, they are somewhat over".

"This takes nothing away from the importance of our trans-Atlantic ties and our alliance with the United States, but the importance we put on these ties can not mean that we abandon fundamental principles such as our commitment to fight climate change and in favor of open societies and free trade", he said.

And yesterday, no doubt in response to Merkel's comments, Trump was once again tweeting up a storm now that he's back on US soil.

"The relationship that the President has had with Merkel he would describe as fairly unbelievable..." "He has respect for her".

Thomas Oppermann, head of the Social Democrats' parliamentary group, told said: "Donald Trump makes clear with his tweet that he views Germany as a political opponent".

Trump launched a salvo against German vehicle exports to the United States last week, saying that "the Germans are bad, very bad" during a meeting with senior European officials in Brussels, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported.

While it is unclear whether Merkel has deliberately picked a fight with Trump or misspoken and bitten off more than she can chew, challenging his stance is popular in Germany. A letter from 22 Republican U.S. senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, called for the President to withdraw from the 2015 agreement. She said: "It is necessary to be open to achieve fair trade conditions".

For Trump, the domestic politics of a Merkel feud are simple, with little downside.

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