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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

With the cringeworthy non-handshakes out of the way, President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel got down to business at a joint press conference. The presser got more than a little awkward, too. The two leaders might as well have been in different rooms, as they barely addressed one another.

And to cap it off, when asked about wiretapping, Trump told Merkel that "at least we have something in common," referencing reports that the NSA wiretapped Merkel under the Obama administration.

Merkel:

  • Merkel kicked off her opening statement with a dig at POTUS — "It's much, much better to talk to one another than about one another."
  • Asked about Trump's style, Merkel said, "Sometimes it's difficult to find compromises, but that's what we've been elected for."
  • Merkel advocated for helping refugees and added, "This is obviously what we have an exchange of views about."

Trump:

  • Trump reiterated his "strong support for NATO," but added, "It is very unfair to the United States. These nations must pay what they owe."
  • Trump said "immigration security is national security" and stated that "immigration is a privilege, not a right."
  • Trump on trade: "I'm not an isolationist. I'm a free trader, but I'm also a fair trader."
  • Trump "very seldom" regrets his tweets and called them a way to get around the media.

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.