The cautious Merkel has failed to establish a good personal rapport with the brash Trump, and the mood music of her one-day working visit to the White House will almost certainly contrast sharply with the tactile “bromance” between Trump and Macron.
Yet her trip may prove more productive. Before heading home after a three-day state visit in Washington, Macron acknowledged that, despite his efforts to dissuade Trump from pulling out of the multinational Iran nuclear deal, he remained likely to do so.
The Iran deal, looming U.S. tariffs on European steel and aluminium products, a planned Russian gas pipeline running under the Baltic Sea to Germany, and Berlin’s military spending are issues that divide Merkel and Trump and likely to come up at their working lunch.
Ahead of the trip, German officials said they expected U.S. tariffs on European steel and aluminium products to kick in on May 1, when an exemption expires. But they said Germany would try to negotiate a broad package including other industries.