A video feed of U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross addressing a meeting of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union was cut off after Ross had spoken for about twenty minutes, going well over his ten minute time limit. Although such could have ended up being little more than a procedural glitch, audience members at the business summit that Ross was addressing laughed and cheered after he was cut off.
Werner M. Bahlsen, head of the CDU Economic Council, told those assembled following the untimely end to Ross’s speech:
‘That was the U.S. secretary of commerce, who had promised us a 10 minute statement. As you saw, he spoke a bit slowly, so it took a bit longer. Now we look forward to the chancellor’s speech.’
Chancellor Merkel closed the event following Ross’ remarks. The event in question took place Tuesday night in Germany.
Of course Trump, who is obsessed with his public image and that of his administration isn’t likely to think very fondly of what took place Tuesday night when he hears about it, if he hasn’t already. In theory, he could even take action against Germany because of Ross being cut off and effectively laughed at.
Trump has already long expressed disdain for Germany, borne out of the country’s economic success relative to that of the United States. Germany has a trade surplus with the United States, and Trump both takes personal offense to that and blames Germany entirely. It’s gotten so ridiculous that Trump is alleged to have told EU officials in his inaugural overseas tour as president that the Germans are “bad, really bad.”
He is alleged to have added:
‘Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US. It’s terrible. We’ll put a stop to that.’
Germany’s trade surplus with the United States was addressed by Ross in his Tuesday remarks, with the Commerce Secretary lambasting Germany for maintaining it.
Ross told those assembled Tuesday night that as Germany’s “biggest customer,” the United States “hope to obtain a larger share of your market.”
At the same time, Ross spoke favorably upon the idea of establishing a free trade agreement between the Unites States and the European Union, saying that the Trump Administration “made a conscious decision not to walk away from” the idea.
Chancellor Merkel directly countered Ross’ criticism of Germany’s trade surplus with the United States, but she expressed support for the idea of establishing a free trade agreement between the EU and the U.S.
As Merkel noted, she will be hosting Trump and other world leaders for the G-20 summit in Hamburg next week, at which time those assembled will have “controversial discussions.” If the outcome of the president’s last visit overseas is any indication, then these “controversial indications” will not produce an outcome that is at all favorable for the majority of the world. When Trump most recently went overseas, European leaders tried to convince him to stay in the Paris Climate Accord but he decided to withdraw from the Accord anyway.
Featured Image via Eric Thayer/ Bloomberg via Getty Images