President Trump Snubs Chancellor Merkel At Photo Op
President Refuses Handshake In First Face-To-Face Meeting
Mein Gott im himmel, what was the president thinking?
At his first face to face meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel, who had friendly relations with both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, President Trump ended up not exactly showing his best side.
At one point, the 45th president suggests to Merkel that both he and she were victims of wiretapping by British intelligence on behalf of President Obama. Trump has made a wiretapping claim within the last several weeks and though he or anyone else in his administration have yet to produce evidence to indicate the veracity of these claims, he furthered the claims and said that he and the German chancellor "have something in common."
It was a claim that came during the press conference that featured both President Trump and Chancellor Merkel, and one which she clearly hadn't expected. While many believed that Trump may have been making a poor joke, it seemed to take Merkel by surprise, as she frowned and shuffled papers for a moment before resuming the questioning by reporters.
Merkel was furious when she discovered that her phones had been tapped under the last administration as part of NSA guidelines that had been previously established before President Obama ended them following the leaks from Edward Snowden. Trump quipping about the German chancellor having her communications wiretapped as well would only worsen already tense relations between the United States and a country that has been a stalwart ally.
But it was in the Oval Office, where the two were answering questions from reporters, that what social media pundits are calling a "klusterfu**en" occurred. There, when a photographer requested the two shake hands, both leaders sat stationary for a moment, and it seemed as though neither had heard the request. Finally, Merkel asked the president, "Do you want to have a handshake?" and Trump completely ignored her.
It was unusual, to say the least; the two world leaders had shaken hands a couple of times since Chancellor Merkel's arrival to the White House, so there seemed to be no reason why President Trump would turn down a handshake from a colleague.
Merkel has good reason to be concerned about the new United States leader, though; Trump has made several disparaging comments about her, NATO, and the European Union at various points throughout his presidential campaign, and with this visit now in the rearview mirror, it seems almost certain that Merkel would be wondering what the president could have been thinking throughout her visit.
President Trump has also shaken every world leader's hand any time he has had a leader visit the White House; in fact, he shook the Japanese prime minister's hand for 19 seconds, which seems a bit longer than most handshakes. Be that as it may, it was clear, from his lack of response to Merkel's question about his wanting a handshake to the seeming smile on his face, that there was no plan in his mind to shake the German chancellor's hand, although he had done so a couple of times previously that day.
All may not have been lost, though; Trump said he felt the meeting went well and that he and Merkel had talked about "many things." As to how productive the meeting was, no one knows for sure, but should the president continue to behave in such a seemingly erratic manner, some sort of contingency plan should be considered so that something of the United States relationships and reputation can be salvaged.