Trump reportedly made his staff brief him for Merkel's visit while he was in the bathroom

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump reportedly got up and went into the bathroom when his aides were briefing him before a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  • The meeting between Trump and Merkel ended up being uncomfortable, with Trump apparently refusing to shake her hand.
  • Merkel and Trump have ideological differences, and since the meeting Merkel has seemed to sour on Trump and the US’s role in Europe.

President Donald Trump had a visibly rocky meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in March when she visited the White House, but a new report from the Washington Post provides a behind the scenes look that may have foreshadowed the event.

In a long investigation detailing Trump’s interactions with his White House staff, the Post’s story cites several officials who said that while National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster briefed Trump on issues Merkel would likely raise, the president got up and went to the bathroom.

Trump left the door open and instructed his aides to speak up so he could hear them, according to the Post.

A White House official said that while inside, Trump “took a glance in the mirror, as this was before a public event.”

When the two leaders met before cameras in the Oval Office, they exchanged formalities before Trump memorably appeared to not hear Merkel or the photographers in the room ask if the two would shake hands. The two did not shake hands at the time, and Trump later said he simply had not heard the requests.

Merkel and Trump clash on ideological issues, with Merkel inviting more than one million refugees from the Middle East to take residency in Germany and Trump banning refugees from Syria entirely. Trump has aligned himself with Brexit and NATO scepticism, while Merkel strongly promotes the European Union and NATO.

Since the meeting Merkel has said largely negative things about the US. In May, after the G7 summit and Trump’s refusal to join the Paris agreement, Merkel said the US was no longer a reliable partner.

Read the full inside story of Trump’s first year in office at the Washington Post.

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