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Angela Merkel: Trump's final hurdle before the weekend

There will be no state dinner. No military fanfare. No high fashion, high hats or high heels. But there is still a st...

Posted: Apr 26, 2018 2:46 PM
Updated: Apr 26, 2018 2:47 PM

There will be no state dinner. No military fanfare. No high fashion, high hats or high heels. But there is still a strong chance of an awkward handshake.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be visiting the White House on Friday. After the pomp and circumstance that accompanied the state visit of French President Emmanuel Macron, Merkel's will be a staid and sombre affair.

She has a paltry 20 minutes for a one-on-one with Trump in the Oval Office before a 90-minute lunch. Then it's straight to a 30-minute perfunctory presser. In all, Merkel will have little more than two hours with President Trump, slotted in just before the weekend starts.

Macron and Merkel have used vastly different strategies to establish a relationship with Trump and both are on display this week in Washington.

But the goal is the same: to bring Trump around to re-engaging with Europe -- and the world -- on everything from the Iran nuclear deal to preventing tariffs, and in doing so, avoid triggering a trade war.

German magazine Der Spiegel featured a typically on-point cover this week: A blazing image of Trump's face, with Macron brandishing a fire-extinguisher and a cheeky wink, while a cowering Merkel wrings her hands in the corner. The Headline Asks: "Who Will Save The West?"

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So what works better? Macron's charm, or Merkel's staid, no-nonsense approach?

There is no doubt that Merkel and Trump lack chemistry and the relationship got off to a rocky start, points out this week's Der Spiegel cover story:

''Trump has not forgotten that Merkel combined her congratulations after his election with a small prediction/lecture to keep values such as democracy, freedom and human dignity in mind," it states. "Now Macron is his friend, and Merkel remains the governess.''

Another way to see this: Macron and Merkel may be playing a complementary double act. Macron's carrot to Merkel's stick. Le Good Cop versus Die Bad Cop.

"Why in the world would Merkel visit Washington DC so shortly after this grand Macron visit? Don't forget, Macron was here to meet with Merkel before the visit to coordinate on the Iran deal as well as how the EU should discuss optional trade sanctions. It's an effort to be a united front," says Sudha David-Wilp of the German Marshall Fund. "I think Trump does begrudgingly respect Merkel. Because she's a winner. She's been in office for 12 years. He respects and recognizes her authority."

The key issues that the two European leaders are trying to talk Trump around on are Iran and trade.

Trump has threatened to pull out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that offers Iran desperately needed sanctions relief in exchange for a halt to its nuclear weapons program. Trump has called it "insane" and a "bad deal" that does little to curb Iran's military meddling in the region or human rights abuses at home.

Angry at the Trump turnaround in US policy, Iran has threatened to resume its nuclear program while Europe is trying to keep both sides cool, desperate to prevent an arms race in the Middle East.

During his White House visit, Macron suggested that there may be a way to create a "new deal" but "we should not tear apart the JCPOA and have nothing else." This leaves it to Merkel to follow up with Trump and square the circle on this diplomatic dilemma.

On trade, Merkel is at a distinct disadvantage. Germany's tremendous trade surplus with the US ($65 billion and counting) is a major bone of contention with President Trump. But the EU is anxious to make sure that the White House extends a waiver on US imports of European steel and aluminum. On this, Merkel may be willing to offer concessions on lowering the EU's own car tariffs, while Macron may not.

Yes, Merkel may be the unglamorous follow-up to Macron's charm offensive, rolling up her sleeves to get work done. But the EU's top leaders may also be executing a calculated tag-team effort to keep President Trump onside.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 341862

Reported Deaths: 7533
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23783441
DeSoto23180283
Harrison20365329
Rankin15307290
Jackson15087251
Madison10917227
Lee10674179
Jones8969169
Forrest8621159
Lauderdale7839243
Lowndes7016151
Lamar696289
Lafayette6535124
Washington5589139
Pearl River5141152
Bolivar4949134
Oktibbeha491698
Panola4766112
Warren4709127
Marshall4691106
Pontotoc446273
Union432579
Monroe4322137
Neshoba4268181
Hancock423788
Lincoln4171116
Pike3650113
Leflore3619125
Tate352888
Alcorn349574
Sunflower347194
Adams340588
Scott340176
Yazoo338575
Copiah323468
Simpson322090
Itawamba314180
Coahoma313385
Tippah304768
Prentiss297863
Covington291883
Leake284675
Marion283681
Wayne276143
George270551
Grenada268888
Newton261564
Tishomingo239370
Winston236584
Jasper229548
Attala225973
Stone225337
Chickasaw218760
Holmes199274
Clay196754
Clarke186280
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181232
Smith178935
Yalobusha171340
Walthall145348
Lawrence141626
Greene139734
Amite136943
Noxubee134835
Perry133238
Montgomery132244
Carroll125931
Webster121032
Jefferson Davis116234
Tunica113427
Benton106225
Claiborne105031
Kemper102329
Humphreys100133
Franklin87723
Quitman84619
Choctaw82319
Wilkinson77732
Jefferson71128
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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