Donald Trump’s first meeting with Angela Merkel produced an awkward moment as the US president did not shake the German leader’s hand in front of photographers in the Oval Office.
Mr Trump told photographers to “send a good picture back to Germany, please”. He said the leaders had enjoyed “very good” talks while Mrs Merkel praised the “friendly reception”.
Photographers then shouted “handshake!” and Mrs Merkel quietly asked Mr Trump “do you want to have a handshake?”
There was no response from the president, who looked ahead with his hands clasped.
German weekly Der Spiegel commented that “the overall impression of this meeting was rather cool”.
German daily Bild wrote on its website: “Trump didn’t want to give Merkel his hand in his office!”
At a joint news conference with the German chancellor, Mr Trump hit back at claims his “America First” agenda is isolationist. He said: “I don’t believe in an isolationist policy.”
Mr Trump has been deeply critical of foreign trade and national security agreements. Yet the president suggested that he is only trying to revise them to better serve US interests, rather than pull back from the world entirely.
Mr Trump said trade agreements have led to greater trade deficits, although the US trade deficit with Germany was $64.9bn last year, the lowest since 2009, according to the Commerce Department.
Mr Trump bristled at the suggestion from a German reporter that his policies could be interpreted as isolationist. He said: “I don’t know what newspaper you’re reading, but I guess that would be an example of fake news.”