In Washington, Joe Biden and Angela Merkel turn the page on the Trump years

“Good friends don’t have to agree on everything. “ Dropped by Joe Biden during his joint press conference with Angela Merkel, Thursday, July 15 at the White House, this little sentence could not better summarize the current state of relations between the United States and Germany, marked by an ostensible desire of warming after the mandate of Donald Trump, but nevertheless tinged with differences on subjects as fundamental as Russia and China.

” Good friends “, first. The formula may seem agreed. It was to be taken literally. Of all the European leaders, the German Chancellor was the first to be received by Joe Biden since his inauguration in January. One way for the American president to confirm what his secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on June 23 in Berlin: “I think it’s fair to say that the United States has no better partner and no better friend in the world than Germany. “

But for Joe Biden, it was also about picking up the pieces broken by his predecessor. When Donald Trump received Mme Merkel in the Oval Office, in March 2017, he had pointedly ignored the hand she was extending to him. Subsequently, he made it one of his privileged targets, not hesitating to lecture it in a humiliating way in front of his NATO partners, in 2018, or to publicly scold him against his policy of welcoming refugees, including he claimed that it dramatically increased the crime rate in Germany.

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Asked Thursday about her relationship with Donald Trump, Mme Merkel diplomatically replied that she always had “Worked with all American presidents”. Before adding, with a big smile: “But today the exchange was very cordial. ” She didn’t need to say more.

Disagreements on Nord Stream 2

At his side, Joe Biden was not stingy with superlatives to greet “The exemplary life of Angela Merkel who served Germany and the whole world”. Referring to his imminent departure from the chancellery after the legislative elections of September 26, he even went so far as to assure that ” the tops [avec elle] he would miss ”. For the photo to be perfect, all that was missing was a dinner in the evening, at the White House, at the invitation of the Biden couple and in the presence of several figures of American political life, such as former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton. For the occasion, it is rare enough to be reported, Mme Merkel was even accompanied by her husband, Joachim Sauer, known to have little taste for this type of social life.

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