Ivanka Trump’s ‘great respect’ for Angela Merkel revealed ahead of NATO summit

The US President and First Lady Melania Trump will be hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace this evening – with the other NATO leaders, including the German Chancellor, in attendance. Mr Trump and Mrs Merkel have had a fractious relationship since the controversial Republican took office in January 2017. He has attacked NATO as “obsolete and disproportionately too expensive and unfair for the US” and specifically attacked Germany for not paying enough into the project.

However, Ivanka – dubbed the First Daughter due to her unusual position as special adviser to the President – was very positive about Mrs Merkel earlier this year.

In an interview with German newspaper Bild, she said she appreciated the Chancellor’s “company and sense of humour” as well as her commitment to women’s empowerment.

Ivanka, who is the special adviser in charge of women’s issues for her father, praised Mrs Merkel for joining the US as a founding member of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative.

She told Bild: “I have great respect for Chancellor Merkel and her leadership role on the world stage.

“On a personal level, I also very much appreciate her company and sense of humour.

“We have had many positive opportunities to engage with each other; the Chancellor’s dedication to vocational education and the economic empowerment of women are just two areas in which we share common goals and interests.”

Ivanka said in the interview, conducted ahead of the Munich Security Conference in February, that Germany is one of the US’ “greatest allies in countless different areas”, specifically naming the economy and security as two of these areas.

Regarding Germany’s NATO spending, Ivanka said she knows the country is “working on a plan to reach the two percent goal and [she would] look forward to seeing it carried out”.

Mr Trump has also accused Germany of being “totally controlled” by Russia due to its dependence on energy supplies, which Mrs Merkel dismissed, asserting that her country makes its own independent decisions and policies.

She also hit back at the President’s criticism that Germany contributes too little to the defence budget, claiming: “Germany does a lot for NATO.

“Germany is the second largest provider of troops, the largest part of our military capacity is offered to Nato and until today we have a strong engagement towards Afghanistan.

“In that we also defend the interests of the US.”

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NATO leaders are meeting in London today to mark the 70th anniversary of the alliance this week.

President Trump kicked off the day with a press briefing in which he slammed French President Emmanual Macron.

Mr Macron claimed NATO is experiencing “brain death” last month, comments when Mr Trump has now branded “insulting”.

He said: “You just can’t go around making statements like that about NATO – it’s very disrespectful.”

He added that “nobody needs NATO more than France, and frankly the one that benefits the least is the US”.

The US President also commented on the UK general election, insisting that Boris Johnson “is very capable and he will do a good job”.

Mr Trump added that he would not want anything to do with the NHS “if you handed it to us on a silver platter”.

He is likely responding to claims from Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party that Mr Johnson is willing to “sell” the NHS to US corporations as part of a trade deal with President Trump.

However, he also said that he was willing to work with any Prime Minister.

First Lady Melania stunned as she wore a chic red trench coat stepping off Air Force One last night.

After landing as Stansted Airport, the pair held hands as they walked down the steps off the official presidential aircraft.

The couple have reportedly been invited to have tea with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall ahead of the reception at Buckingham Palace.

Royals attending the reception include the Queen, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Edward, Princess Anne, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra.

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