Political News

Angela Merkel calls US retraction of support 'sobering and somewhat depressing'

Posted June 11, 2018 3:54 p.m. EDT

— German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the decision by President Donald Trump and the US delegation to abstain from the G7 summit's statement "sobering and somewhat depressing."

In comments to reporters from her home country, Merkel offered what may be her strongest direct criticism of Trump so far as the relationship between the two leaders continues to fray.

Merkel, whose office over the weekend released a photo of her leaning over a table before a seated Trump at a meeting with G7 leaders and aides, said she had "tried hard to find a compromise and we fought hard for it ... this was an important announcement."

Merkel's comments come after a weekend of tense diplomacy in Canada, where Trump did not endorse the G7 communique. Trump cited unfair trade and tariffs from Canada, a longtime US ally, as one of the reasons he refused to back the joint statement.

Trump made promoting American interests in international trade his primary goal for the G7 summit, often to the detriment of diplomatic niceties. The summit's rancor left American allies unsure of how they'll work with the Trump administration on trade going forward.

Trump said that his ultimate goal was the elimination of all trade duties.

After Trump left the summit, tensions between him and the rest of the G7 continued to escalate. After hearing Canadian prime minister's comments vowing to retaliate for US tariffs on steel and aluminum during a news conference, Trump tweeted that Trudeau had made "false statements," and White House officials had harsh criticism for Trudeau during the Sunday morning news programs.

The United States' closest trading partners -- the EU, Canada and Mexico -- have vowed to impose retaliatory tariffs on scores of US products beginning in the coming weeks.