US President Donald Trump has insisted he has a “really great relationship” with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as he welcomed her to the White House.
He called her an “extraordinary woman” as she began a flying visit to save the Iran nuclear deal and avert US tariffs.
Last year, on her first Washington trip since Mr Trump took office, there was an awkward moment when he apparently misheard her offer of a handshake. But on Friday he warmly shook her hands after welcoming her with a cheek kiss.
Ahead of an afternoon press conference with his guest, Mr Trump said in the Oval Office: “We have a really great relationship.”
“And we actually have had a great relationship right from the beginning. But some people didn’t understand that, but we understand and that’s what’s important.”
Mrs Merkel smiled and nodded.
The optics of her trip will nevertheless contrast starkly with the pomp and ceremony rolled out for French President Emmanuel Macron during his glitzy state visit this week.
Mr Macron had three days; Mrs Merkel has barely three hours.