German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump met for the first time as leaders of their respective countries March 17, and both German and American news outlets were watching carefully to see how the two would interact.
During a joint press briefing with Merkel, Trump suggested that the alleged wiretapping from former President Barack Obama's administration was something the both of them had in common. Merkel's telephone communications and communications of other German officials were monitored by the NSA for decades, as stated in a release by WikiLeaks. Merkel had a well-documented warm relationship with Obama.
Trump's accusations of wiretapping by the Obama administration have been denounced as false and Trump himself has offered no evidence to support his claim. FBI Director James Comey said in front of Congress March 20 that his office found no evidence of such claims, according to reports.
The quote about wire-tapping similarities from Trump drew quite the look of surprise from Merkel, with the moment captured in pictures and memes across the internet, like this one:
And this one:
Trump tweeted about his meeting with Merkel the next day.
"Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel," he wrote. "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!"
News outlets described the meeting between the two world leaders as cordial, but not necessarily friendly. Trump oscillated between offering diplomatic talking points and appearing to refuse a handshake with Merkel while sitting in the Oval Office.
"He was Mr. Jekyll while reading his statement, saying nice things about economic ties, his commitment to Ukraine, common friendship; all the niceties," said Sylke Tempel, the editor in chief of Internationale Politik in Germany, to The New York Times.
"Then, in the question-and-answer session, he’s his old self: disparaging the media, criticizing the British."
Internet commenters were quick with their reactions to the Merkel-Trump meeting, paying particular attention to the glance Merkel gave Trump after his wire-tapping assertion.
"Every foreign leader is now practicing the 'Abe/Merkel eye roll' in advance of meeting Trump. It's the hot new move in international circles," wrote one user. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe met with Trump in Feb. 2017 and the two shared a few uncomfortable moments that were captured and shared across social media.
"Angela Merkel is every smart woman who's ever had to treat a moronic man as an equal," wrote another.