Editorial: Merkel-Trump meet-up

March 13, 2017

President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — slated to meet face to face for the first time tomorrow — are not what anyone would call a match made in heaven.

During his presidential campaign Trump accused Merkel of “ruining Germany” by admitting thousands of refugees. Germany was certainly high on his list of European deadbeats when he berated NATO members for not paying their “fair share” toward the mutual defense pact.

And it was Merkel who worked so hard to implement sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Crimea and continued interference in eastern Ukraine even as Trump was touting his great admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

So, yes, this could be interesting. But Merkel, who faces her own re-election battle next September, is a woman of both enormous charm and vast diplomatic experience with a backbone of finely tempered German steel — if needed.

She can point to the fact that Germany has already stepped up its military spending in keeping with Trump’s NATO demands.

And Der Spiegel reports she will be accompanied on her trip by the CEOs of Siemens and BMW, eager to talk about how many jobs their companies are creating in the U.S. Or make the point that more “German” autos are manufactured in the U.S. than are exported here from Germany.

Germany has long been one of this nation’s most trusted allies. Our novice president would do well to learn from Merkel’s experience on the world stage. And if his choice of a partner on that world stage comes down to Merkel or Putin, he’d be well advised to throw his lot in with Merkel.