The image of friendly relations between Germany and the USA seems distant since Trump took office.
"The relationship that the President has had with Merkel he would describe as fairly unbelievable..."
President Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted Germany for its trade practices and what he views as its shortchanging of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members, further weakening a partnership widely viewed as key to global stability.
But Merkel told supporters during a campaign event on Sunday that "the times in which [Germany] could fully rely on others are partly over".
Those comments, which sent shock waves through Washington, vented Europe's frustration with Trump on climate policy in particular. And while German politicians sided with Merkel, FM Gabriel signaled that it was time for cooler heads to prevail. It's a simple approach that says "Two beats one, it's better to be one of the two, and the rising power Trump thinks the United States can work with best is Russia".
Her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said on Monday the chancellor was a "deeply convinced trans-Atlanticist" who believes in the idea of Western unity.
He also said that Ms Merkel's comment was not necessarily negative. "But the importance we put on these ties can not mean that we abandon fundamental principles such as our commitment to fight climate change and in favour of open societies and free trade", he said. "That's what the president called for".
At a press conference in Berlin, Merkel, who is in the midst of a campaign for re-election, had said that the diplomatic relationship with the U.S. was of "outstanding importance" but that discord meant that "we in Europe must take our fate into our own hands".
Back in January of this year, I wrote a piece at The Hill that attempted to provide an explanation for President Donald Trump's Russophile foreign policy.
Trump met with Merkel in the White House on March 17. "He has a lot of respect for her", Spicer said.
"Transatlantic ties are of paramount importance to us. but the current situation gives more reasons for.us to take our destiny in our own hands", Merkel said, stressing that "Europe must become a player active in worldwide affairs".
Research director Daniela Schwarzer of the German Council of Foreign Relations in Berlin asserted that Trump had alienated Germany and other US allies during the G-7 summit.
"It's not a change in policy".
Mr Spicer said however that the United States president respects Ms Merkel and that the pair "continue to grow the bonds" forged during the in-person meetings. "And all of our allies are starting to see that".