Jul 22, 2018

Merkel hopes for trade deal amid Trump's tariffs threat

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Not every foreign leader is eager to play hardball with Trump. The Germans, in particular, are much more inclined to compromise. Angela Merkel badly wants a trade deal to prevent Trump from carrying out his threat to put 25% tariffs on car imports into the U.S., according to two senior European officials privy to internal discussions.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker plans to meet Trump at the White House on Wednesday. And European officials tell me they expect him to come armed with proposals including a "plurilateral trade deal" that would involve the trade of cars and car parts — an obsession of Trump's.

  • The U.S. imposes tariffs of 2.5% on car imports, while the Europeans impose a 10% tariff on car imports. But the Europeans like to point out that the U.S. imposes a 25% tariff on light-truck and van imports.

Between the lines: Senior European officials have told me they're working under the assumption that Trump wants his car tariffs before the November midterm elections. So they're already discussing their retaliatory measures.

  • Trump is infuriated by Germany in particular. At lunch with Merkel last year when she visited Washington, Trump took her to task over the gusher of German car imports, when not enough American cars were selling in Germany.
  • According to a source at the lunch, Trump told her: "You guys are flooding our streets with German cars. I can’t go anywhere without seeing one. They’re flying up and down the streets here ... Do you have Fords and Chevrolets flying up and down streets in Germany too?"

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Minnesota activates National Guard amid fallout from George Floyd death

A portrait of George Floyd hangs on a street light pole in Minneapolis. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

George Floyd, 46, moved to Minnesota to improve his life and become his "best self," but instead, he is dead because of Minneapolis police.

The latest: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared a state of emergency and activated the state's National Guard in response to violent clashes over the past two days between police and protesters in the Twin Cities.

Trump signs executive order targeting protections for social media platforms

President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday designed to limit the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for the content users post on their platforms.

What they're saying: "Currently, social media giants like Twitter receive an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they are a neutral platform, which they are not," Trump said in the Oval Office. "We are fed up with it. It is unfair, and it's been very unfair."