This Moment Between Angela Merkel & Donald Trump Is Just So Horribly Awkward
On Friday, the president met with German Chancellor Angela "Don't Give AF" Merkel for a joint news conference. And one moment between Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump was just so horribly awkward that people are playing it over and over on Twitter.
According to the Guardian, Trump hosted Merkel at the White House Friday for a bilateral meeting on "strengthening NATO, fighting the Islamic State group, resolving Ukraine's conflict." This was Merkel's first personal meeting with the president since he was sworn into office, and comes despite months of tension between the two allied countries.
That tension, though, was on full display during the press op. Although the two world leaders clearly tried hard to appear diplomatic, one specific moment in the Oval Office proved that Merkel and Trump have a long (looooooonnnnggg) way to go before they're even reach frienemy status.
As their bulbs flashed and lens shuttered, press photographers asked Trump and Merkel to shake hands (because what says "I may not like you but I'll tolerate you" better than a handshake snapshot?). Video published by the New York Daily News shows Trump ignoring the press pool's repeated request. Merkel even turns to Trump to ask if he wants a handshake; instead of responding, the president turned away, without saying a word.
Photographers: Can we get a handshake?— David Mack (@davidmackau) March 17, 2017
Merkel (to Trump): Do you want to have a handshake?
Trump: *no response*
Merkel: *makes awkward face* pic.twitter.com/ehgpCnWPg7
Although funny, the exchange between Merkel and Trump is disturbing. Here is the leader of the United States blatantly showing disrespect to one of the world's most powerful and influential leaders. His refusal to shake Merkel's hand signals that he doesn't consider the German chancellor his equal, nor worthy of his attention. It's bratty behavior not befitting of a president.
It's no secret that the two dislike each other, even if they won't outright say so. As Fortune breaks down, Trump has often used harsh language to chastise Merkel's leadership of German (though he did call her "his 'favorite' world leader"). Merkel, on the other hand, has taken a conciliatory approach when criticizing Trump's actions as the 45th president of the United States. But this meeting has major implications for foreign relations and how global policies will be shaped. Trump's slight against Merkel is unsettling.
Twitter, of course, had a field day with it.
This picture is funny because Donald Trump is chicken shit and Angela Merkel takes no shit. pic.twitter.com/5TyKHopglD— MAILER DAEMON (@thoughtrash) March 17, 2017
You can't blame Trump for not shaking hands with Angela Merkel. He's terrified of germs. Oh... and women who are smarter than him #handshake— Alt Fed Employee (@Alt_FedEmployee) March 17, 2017
If you are an outspoken, strong woman and/or in a leadership position, Trump's body language here will be familiar 😏https://t.co/ax631C2o2I— ...she persisted. 🗽 (@leahmcelrath) March 17, 2017
I think a lot of women will find Trump refusing to even look at Merkel during that presser pretty familiar— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) March 17, 2017
I can't imagine a higher honor than being refused a handshake from Donald Trump.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) March 17, 2017
"WE CAN'T ELECT A WOMAN, MALE LEADERS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES WON'T RESPECT HER"— Gabe Ortíz (@TUSK81) March 17, 2017
*Trump refuses to look at Merkel*
There are more golden moments between Trump and Merkel during the afternoon press conference, with Merkel throwing the classiest of shade. But if Friday's meeting is any indication, future relations between Germany and America may be on thinner ice than imagined.