Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday invited US President Joe Biden to visit Germany “as soon as the pandemic situation allows,” her spokesman said, in their first phone call since the Democrat took office.
In what appeared to be a markedly warm call compared to her conversations with Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, Merkel and the new US leader also underlined the importance of working together in the fight against Covid-19.
“The chancellor and the American president agree that stronger international efforts were needed to deal with the coronavirus pandemic,” said Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert in a statement.
On that note, she welcomed Biden’s decision to reverse Trump’s decision last July to pull the United States out of the World Health Organization — even as the pandemic was raging.
A few months later in November, Trump also yanked the United States out of the Paris climate accord, claiming it “was designed to kill the American economy” rather than save the environment.
Also lauding Biden’s decision to return to the Paris agreement, Merkel pledged “Germany’s readiness to assume responsibility as it works with European and transatlantic partners in dealing with international tasks”.
Merkel said Thursday during a press conference that there was far more common ground with Washington now that Biden has replaced Trump.
She had minced no words in criticising Trump, saying after the storming of the US Capitol by his supporters that the president shared blame for the unrest.
In 2016, she had greeted Trump’s election victory with an extraordinary warning: that she would work with him on the condition that he respect democratic values.