The Washington Post by Philip Bump
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was supposed to attend this week’s Economic Council of the Christian Democratic Union meeting in Berlin, but suddenly canceled his travel plans on Tuesday. Ross was scheduled to give an address at the conference immediately before German Chancellor Angela Merkel, so he instead gave his remarks by teleconference from Washington.
Ross was allotted 10 minutes to speak. After he spoke for more than 20, the conference organizers cut his feed mid-sentence. The audience “laughed and clapped” in response, according to Bloomberg News. Merkel then rose and, during her remarks, disagreed with one of Ross’s points.
The relationship between President Trump and Merkel has been strained since his inauguration. His repeated insistence that Germany owes money to NATO and his unusual reticence to embrace that alliance has been one point of friction. His disparagement of Germany as “very bad” in a closed-door meeting was another. That claim centered on what Trump (and Ross) viewed as a trade disparity between the two countries and was the point with which Merkel took issue.