Call this “kidding on the square”: Presented as a joke, but suggestive enough of a true conviction to convince you that he’s still all-in on his “Obama surveilled me” theory despite the intelligence claims to the contrary. I’m weirdly impressed that he remembered the reports from 2013 about the NSA intercepting Merkel’s communications, though. It’s fodder for a good line, even if it did leave Merkel with an “is this really happening?” look on her face upon seeing this sore spot between the U.S. and Germany suddenly re-introduced by the president himself.
My theory this morning for that awkward Trump/Merkel photo op was that either it was a big misunderstanding or Merkel said something in their meeting beforehand, possibly about NATO, to have royally pissed Trump off. Score one for theory two:
President Trump pushed German Chancellor Angela Merkel very hard on the subject of NATO during their closed doors meeting today, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the events.
Trump told Germany has accumulated an immense lack of investment over many years, according to one of our sources, telling Merkel the U.S. feels taken advantage of for spending so much on defense while its allies have benefited without their own degrees of contribution.
The Germans weren’t happy either:
GERMANY: Foreign ministry official says Trump 'uses rudeness to compensate for his weakness, like Putin'
— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) March 17, 2017
It’s not a surprise that he’d double down on the accusation against Obama, having told Tucker Carlson a few days ago that things might be coming out within the next two weeks to support what he said. What is surprising is that he’d kinda sorta double down on Andrew Napolitano’s claim about Obama conspiring with the GCHQ to spy on him. He doesn’t endorse Napolitano’s report, as you’ll see, but he doesn’t question it either, making a point of noting Napolitano’s “very talented legal mind.” I told you he’d be credulous if anyone asked him about Napolitano’s theory, notwithstanding all the irritation in the UK right now.
Speaking of which, more on that in the next post.