Skip to main content

Tip Sheets

Merkel to navigate difficult road in DC — without the pomp

Media Contact

Rebecca Valli

Donald Trump will meet with German President Angela Merkel this week in Washington DC. The visit will lack the pomp the White House reserved to French leader Macron.


Mona Krewel

Visiting Assistant Professor

The treatment exemplifies the difficult relationship Trump has with Merkel, according to Mona Krewel, assistant professor of government at Cornell University. Krewel is an expert on German politics and author of the book “Modernization of German Election Campaigns?”

Krewel says:

“I expect Angela Merkel’s visit to Trump to be very different from Macron’s visit this week.

“It is scheduled to be a pure one day working meeting without the pomp and circumstance we have very recently seen when Trump hosted Emanuel Macron. The White House has officially stated that the German-American relationship is still the bedrock of the Transatlantic relationship and the NATO alliance. In turn, German government officials have reputedly emphasized that they are confident the two leaders will bridge their differences of opinion. But all that aside, the distinct protocolar frameworks in which these two back-to back visits with Europe’s most important leaders take place are very telling. They point to the much more difficult relationship Trump has with Merkel compared to his relationship with the French president.

“The urgent economic and geopolitical topics on the agenda will not make it easier either. Be it the European exemption from U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, the Iran nuclear deal or the war in Syria, both leaders hold very different opinions. Merkel’s biggest problem thereby will be that she now has to live up to the world’s expectation that she is the real leader of the free world, a narrative which soon emerged after Trump had been elected and which probably has always been a very naive perception of the real balance of power between both nations anyway.

“However, now this narrative can in fact hurt Merkel’s reputation, as she has to deliver. And we cannot expect Trump to make it easy for her in any way.”


Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.