A sit-down meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel went from painfully awkward to downright offensive when Trump couldn’t even muster an ounce of humility and grace. During a photo op, the two world leaders sat in stony silence as photographers did their best to try to capture a picture that showed some warmth between what are supposed to be two close allies. Instead they got Trump looking like his dad just told him they wouldn’t be getting ice cream after all and Merkel squirming in discomfort.
Trump’s obvious irritability was bizarre to begin with, but his refusal to interact with Merkel only got worse. When a reporter suggested the pair give a handshake (as is customary when two leaders meet for the first time), Merkel leaned over to Trump to ask if he wanted to give it a go only to have Trump continue to stare straight ahead, ignoring her. She stared in astonishment, then resignation. The realization that the President of the United States really is this pathetic was written all over her face.
Photographers: Can we get a handshake?
Merkel (to Trump): Do you want to have a handshake?
Trump: *no response*
Merkel: *makes awkward face* pic.twitter.com/ehgpCnWPg7
— David Mack (@davidmackau) March 17, 2017
Trump could have been in a bad mood for any number of reasons. His healthcare plan is going down in flames. His budget cuts — which focus primarily on stripping funding away from the elderly and children in favor of more military spending — are getting some of the worst press since his Muslim ban. His second Muslim ban was just shot down by two federal judges. And his plan to accuse the British government of helping Obama wiretap him didn’t just blow up in his face, but actually caused an international scandal. Or it could be the fact that Germany has shown zero interest in indulging his tantrums.
Whatever the cause, America just got another clear reminder that the damage Trump is doing isn’t just domestic. He’s undermining relationships with crucial allies in ways that may take decades to repair. And he’s not even willing to give a simple handshake to prevent it.
Featured image via Twitter