From Rejecting A Handshake To Accusing A Journalist: Trump Meets Merkel (VIDEO)
An Encounter full of awkward moments between Trump and Merkel
President Donald Trump is again making headlines, this time for his encounter with German Chancellor Angela Merkel; not for its positive results but for the numerous awkward moments. Early Friday afternoon in a meeting between both leaders in the Oval Office, President Trump was caught on video refusing to shake hands with Merkel after photographers suggested they did for the camera.
In fact, Chancellor Merkel can be seen asking Trump “Do you want to have a handshake?” which he simply ignored. Perhaps it was in retaliation of the much-mocked 19 seconds handshake with Japan’s Prime Minister last month, or simply out of disdain; yet Trump seems to be incapable of scoring a diplomatic encounter without mistakes. As detailed by Politico
“Trump, who seemed to be grimacing as he sat alongside Merkel, did not respond. He continued looking forward as the cameras rolled.”
Later on, during a joint press conference, a German reporter asked President Trump about his “America first” trade policies and his attacks on the media,
“Mr. President, ‘America first,’ don’t you think this is going to weaken also the European Union? And why are you so scared of diversity in the news and in the media, that you speak so often of ‘fake news’ and that things after all, in the end, cannot be proven, for example the fact that you have been wiretapped by Mr. Obama?”
Amid laughter in the White House’s East Room, Trump accused the German reporter of citing “fake news”. Trump failed to address the reporter’s question, but did insisted on not being an isolationist. However, Trump reiterated that he will keep pushing for the U.S. to be treated fairly in international markets to avoid the continuous losses of jobs for Americans. As quoted by Politico, Trump said
“The United States has been treated very, very unfairly by many countries over the years and that’s going to stop. But I’m not an isolationist. I’m a free trader but I’m also a fair trader and our free trade has led to a lot of bad things happening. We’re a very powerful company — country. We’re a very strong, very strong country. We’ll soon be at a level that we perhaps have never been before. I am not an isolationist by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t know what newspaper you’re reading, but I guess that would be another example of, as you say, fake news.”
As Trump lashed out the reporter from her country, Chancellor Merkel looked up from her lectern in horror. And we cannot miss how he humiliated himself, too.
While Trump has repeatedly attacked Merkel’s policy of accepting refugees into Germany, Merkel has also criticized Trump’s attempt to ban people. Their policies, in general, could not be more different. And interestingly, in spite of the fact that it is Merkel, not Trump, who faces an imminent election, the German Chancellor showed some restaint, and instead of campaigning, she championed the western order which Trump is undermining, and it was Trump, who was just elected, who seemed to be continuing to wage a never-ending campaign.
In essence the German Chancellor’s skill and experience at diplomacy saved the day. As Merkel said at the start of her remarks it is “much better to talk to one another and not about one another”. But the encounter was still too awkward. Another embarrassment for the Trump administration, and for America.
See for yourself:
Featured image via Associated Press screengrab.
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