Chancellor Angela Merkel had stressed several times that her farewell visit to Washington was a working visit, and she was serious. The program for the 24 hours in the capital of the USA was packed. Nevertheless, Merkel spontaneously pushed in an appointment on Thursday morning: At the German embassy, she spoke about the flood crisis in Germany.
On Wednesday evening, it landed shortly after seven a.m. local time, shortly after one a.m. German time. Merkel drove from the airport to the embassy and received journalists for a background discussion. If she was tired, she didn't let it show. Among other things, she noted that she was looking forward to meeting Vice President Kamala Harris the following day.
This meeting was scheduled early in the morning. Two of the most powerful women in the world shook hands for the first time. The conversation was scheduled to continue that evening, as Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff were to attend the dinner that President Joe Biden hosted in Merkel's honor.
After the meeting with Harris and the speech on the flood in Germany, an honor was on the agenda for Merkel. The Johns Hopkins University awarded her an honorary doctorate. On the occasion she thanked the USA for their “outstanding contribution” to the “turning point” of German reunification. Merkel had already received an honorary doctorate from Harvard University two years ago. She was visibly pleased with this award, too, and thanked her with a speech that in parts could be read like a political legacy. The fact that Merkel has now been honored by two such important US universities leads observers to ask whether she might want to teach at such an institution for a while after the end of her term of office. It's a question she doesn't answer for the time being.
From the honor it went over to the White House to Joe Biden, who is also busy these days. His primary concern is getting his multi-billion dollar infrastructure plan through Congress, and right now it looks like it can work. He's also looking with interest to see who the Republicans are nominating for the committee to review the January 6th. At that time, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. There were dead and injured, the consequences can still be felt today, and it was only recently that the fence that had stood around the building since the storm was dismantled.