The American president and the German chancellor met today. It was always bound to be a bit awkward, given Trump’s antipathy to NATO, the EU, and open immigration policies. But they ended up participating in one of the most cringe-inducing staged events in political history. Studiously avoiding talking to or even looking at each other, both world leaders strongly suggested they couldn’t wait to stop being in each other’s company. “Send a good picture back to Germany,” Trump muttered to the press. Asked by a reporter if they talked about NATO, Trump responded that the conversation was about “many things.” When Merkel asked if Trump wanted to shake hands, he ignored her.
It could be that she was speaking too softly, although he also paid no heed to the photographers echoing her requests. Whether out of inadvertence or deliberate rudeness, with perhaps a tinge of sexism in the mix, Trump finished his encounter with Merkel on a note of disdain.