- The White House said in a statement to The Washington Post on Wednesday that chief of staff John Kelly looked “displeased” at the NATO summit in Brussels “because he was expecting a full breakfast and there were only pastries and cheese.”
- Reporters at the summit said Kelly looked uncomfortable during a working breakfast as Trump suggested Germany was “controlled by Russia.”
- Trump’s remarks on Germany and Russia generated a sharply worded response from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The White House said in a statement to The Washington Post on Wednesday that chief of staff John Kelly looked “displeased” during part of the NATO summit in Brussels “because he was expecting a full breakfast and there were only pastries and cheese.”
During a working breakfast that marked the start of the summit, Trump said Germany was “controlled by Russia,” citing an energy partnership between the two countries.
“It’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we’re supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year from Russia,” Trump said.
He added: “Germany is totally controlled by Russia.”
Reporters there noted that Kelly looked fairly uncomfortable as Trump made the comments.
Quite interesting to watch John Kelly's face in the background as Trump says that "Germany is totally controlled by Russia." (via ABC). pic.twitter.com/qJvj30a3zv
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 11, 2018
Mary Civiello, an executive communications coach who's an expert on body language, told The Post that Kelly's expression seemed to suggest "he wants to be anywhere but where he is."
But the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told The Post that Kelly that was simply upset about the limited breakfast options.
Trump's remarks on Germany and Russia generated a sharply worded response from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union," Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, told reporters, according to Reuters.
"I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany," Merkel added. "Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions. That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany."
After meeting with Merkel later Wednesday, Trump claimed to have a "very, very good" relationship with the German leader.
"We had a great meeting discussing military expenditure," Trump said. "We're talking about trade. We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor. We have a tremendous relationship with Germany."