President Donald Trump's phone conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel were "so unusual" that German officials were prompted to keep them under wraps, the journalist Carl Bernstein reported Monday in an investigation for CNN.
Sources told CNN that Trump disparaged Merkel in a "very aggressive" manner, calling her "stupid" and accusing her of "being in the pocket of the Russians."
"He's toughest [in the phone calls] with those he looks at as weaklings and weakest with the ones he ought to be tough with," a source told CNN.
Though extraordinary measures were taken in response to Trump's conversations with Merkel, the German chancellor took the US president's comments "like water off a duck's back," a source told CNN.
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German officials were so alarmed by President Donald Trump's "very aggressive" conversations with Chancellor Angela Merkel that they kept their calls secret, sources told CNN.
In calls with the German chancellor, Trump bullied and disparaged Merkel in a "near-sadistic" fashion, according to the CNN report by Carl Bernstein, the longtime journalist known for his reporting on the Watergate scandal for The Washington Post.
"Some of the things he said to Angela Merkel are just unbelievable: He called her 'stupid,' and accused her of being in the pocket of the Russians," unnamed sources told CNN, adding: "He's toughest [in the phone calls] with those he looks at as weaklings and weakest with the ones he ought to be tough with."
A group of officials assigned to monitor Merkel's calls with Trump also shrank, leaving "just a small circle of people who are involved and the reason, the main reason, is that they are indeed problematic," a German official told CNN.
The official added that Trump's conversations with Merkel were deemed "so unusual" that extra steps were taken to keep the calls secret.
Though extraordinary measures were taken in response to Trump's conversations with Merkel, the German chancellor took the US president's comments "like water off a duck's back," a source told CNN, adding that she responded to his disparaging remarks by stating facts.
"President Trump is a world-class negotiator who has consistently furthered America's interests on the world stage," the White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews told Business Insider in a statement in response to the CNN report. "From negotiating the phase-one China deal and the USMCA to NATO allies contributing more and defeating ISIS, President Trump has shown his ability to advance America's strategic interests."
The CNN report suggested that Trump's behavior extended to other female world leaders including Theresa May, the UK prime minister until 2019. The US president's behavior was described as "humiliating and bullying" to May, after he called her a "fool" when it came to foreign- and public-policy decisions, one source told CNN.
"He'd get agitated about something with Theresa May, then he'd get nasty with her on the phone call," one source said. "It's the same interaction in every setting — coronavirus or Brexit — with just no filter applied."
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