President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke Friday following a meeting between the two leaders whose views have sharply clashed in the past.
Trump has touted nationalism and American strength, while Merkel and Germany are seen as embodying the supporters of multinational institutions like the European Union. Trump has criticized Merkel’s handling of the Syrian refugee crisis, among other issues, but he and some advisors have previously praised Germany’s economy.
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The pair of leaders held a joint press conference at the White House following their summit, addressing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, trade deals and economic development, among other issues.
Before the news conference, Trump and Merkel discussed economic development and job training. Trump touted Germany’s apprenticeship programs, praising its youth unemployment rate.
He said the U.S. needs to “embrace new and effective job-training approaches,” like alternatives to four-year college. Trump said those methods could help to boost economic productivity, particularly in manufacturing.
Key American and German executives joined the leaders for the meeting:
- BMW CEO Harald Krueger
- Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser
- Schaeffler CEO Klaus Rosenfeld
- Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris
- IBM CEO Ginni Rometty
- Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff