By Claire Zillman
May 30, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump ruffled feathers during his visit to Europe last week. Aside from pushing past Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and engaging in a hand-shake-off with new French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump scolded Germany for its trade surplus and did not commit the U.S. to staying in the Paris climate accord.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed to issue a response in a Bavarian beer tent in Munich during a campaign rally on Sunday. She signaled that Europe can no longer depend on the U.S. as a reliable partner. “The times in which we can fully count on others are over to some extent, as I have experienced in the past few days,” she said. “We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands.”

Politico argues that too much is being made of Merkel’s remarks; that the chancellor carefully chose the qualifiers “fully” and “some extent” to subtly distance herself from Trump. She was not throwing in the towel on European-American relations entirely.

Bloomberg, meanwhile, called Merkel’s comments her “strongest indication yet that Europe and the U.S. under President Donald Trump are drifting apart” and said the speech was an instance of Merkel “projecting herself as a defender of global stability.”

The German chancellor, who’ll seek her fourth term in a September election, has been saddled with that title since Trump was voted into the White House, but she’s shied away from it in the past, calling the characterization “absurd.” She showed no signs of such deference on Sunday. After she spoke, Merkel took a swig from a giant tankard of beer to the delight of Internet meme makers who called it “the most German thing ever” and saw it as evidence of the chancellor’s newfound swagger.



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