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MUNICH — Speaking on German soil 75 years after the U.S. and its allies prepared for D-Day, Joe Biden described America as "an embarrassment" and its trade policies "self-defeating."
"The America I see values basic human decency, not snatching children from their parents or turning our back on refugees at our border. Americans know that’s not right,” the former vice president and potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate told the Munich Security Conference. "The American people understand plainly that this makes us an embarrassment.
Biden’s jabs drew applause from European critics of Trump hours after Vice President Mike Pence had spoken at the conference lauding the president's efforts to press NATO allies to increase defense spending in the face of Russian aggression.
Merkel accused the United States of strengthening Iran and Russia with its plans for a speedy military pullout from Syria. And she lamented that the U.S.-led global order “has collapsed into many tiny parts.”
The crowd gave the German chancellor an extended standing ovation — a rare display at the normally button-down Munich Security Conference. The customarily reserved Merkel beamed as she took her seat. The speech, and the response, underscored just how far apart the United States has drifted from its traditional allies during Trump’s term — and how little Europeans care about concealing their contempt.
“Now there’s a lot more openly displayed anger about the fact that the relationship is broken,” Bremmer said. “The Trump administration doesn’t understand that it’s not just about how much people pay. It’s about a relationship, trust, how you communicate, shared values. That all matters.”
Merkel devoted much of her speech to an item-by-item rundown of areas where the U.S. and Europe disagree, seeking to refute the Trump administration position on each one. She appeared particularly aggrieved by U.S. threats to raise tariffs on German cars — justified on the grounds that they endanger U.S. national security.