US President Donald Trump claimed that German news agency reporter Kristina Dunz was interested in "fake news" when she asked him about isolationist policies. In her report, Dunz later wrote, "It is no longer a custom in the White House that hard, uncomfortable questions receive factual answers."
The president also used a question from "Die Welt" journalist Ansgar Graw about his statements on Twitter to joke that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel "had something in common, perhaps," in that their phones were tapped. The president did not mention that proof of the National Security Agency listening in on Merkel's phone existed. Trump also failed to provide evidence backing up his bombshell claim that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped his communications.
Those were two of the tough questions Trump faced during a press conference Friday with Merkel that led US journalists who cover the White House to praise the tenacity of their German colleagues.
Politico reporter Tara Palmeri admitted her German colleagues posed more substantial questions: "The German press shamed us."
Trump was also asked point-blank by one reporter why he keeps making statements he knows are not true. It was a question that DW's Brent Goff said "shocked" US reporters.
CNN White House reporter Jeremy Diamond applauded German reporters for sticking to a line of questioning on phone taps: "Good on our German colleagues for asking @POTUS about wiretapping claims after 2 reporters Trump called on did not."
"Washington Post" political reporter Abby Phillip also had praise for German questions about Trump's wiretap claims: "Kudos to German reporters for asking Trump questions on his baseless wire tapping claims."
Ryan Lizza, a writer for "New Yorker" magazine also remarked on the difference in questioning style: "Quite a contrast between the questions from the American reporter and the German reporter."
The straightforward line of questioning visibly put off Trump, according to Goff: "Rarely has #Trump appeared so uncomfortable. #Merkel seems at home in the #WhiteHouse."