WASHINGTON: Chancellor Angela Merkel visits the White House in her diplomatic swan song Thursday, underlining how important the veteran German leader has been to the transatlantic relationship, but also highlighting the unanswered questions she leaves behind.
Merkel, who has dealt with four US presidents and is stepping down later this year, was meeting President Joe Biden for an official working visit.
Starting with a breakfast at Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence, before switching to the White House for one-on-one talks with Biden, and then an early dinner, the day was designed to “convey gratitude,” a senior Biden administration official said. The German leader, who said she was “shocked” by deadly flooding back home, was the first European leader invited by Biden to Washington, as well as the first foreign leader to be hosted by Harris at her residence.
Greeting Merkel at the vice presidential residence, Harris called her guest’s career “extraordinary.” While it was not clear whether breakfast would tend more to Harris’ California roots or feature a German flavour, a weighty discussion menu awaited the two women.