So, German chancellor Angela Merkel paid the United States a visit this week. Naturally, that would include a call on the US President, Donald Trump. The problem is, Trump is not exactly a fan of Merkel and had criticised her government’s policies during and after the US presidential campaign last year. Merkel herself too is not known to have much affection for the, well, unhinged US president.
But diplomacy is diplomacy, and when two heads of government meet, they are expected to play nice, smile for the cameras and pretend – at least – to show some form of maturity in each other’s presence.
And especially so when the entire media is there.
Well, that is the normal thing which would happen.
But with Donald Trump, nothing is normal.
When the two leaders met at the White House on Friday, each with some rather strained smiles on their faces, and Trump with obvious discomfort, one never knew what could happen.
The press corp started to urge them to shake hands like, you know, normal leaders do when they meet. One for the photographers and newspapers, as is the usual thing.
Trump and Merkel, however, hesitated. Neither was going to take the initiative.
Then Merkel is heard, as she leaned toward Trump, asking if he would like to shake hands with her.
Well, Trump…. just kept silent, and didn’t even look at her. He clearly must have heard what Merkel had said.
Merkel managed a thin smile, clearly bemused by the cold treatment from the unhinged one.
Here is a video of that very awkward moment, when two of the most powerful people on earth can’t even manage a simple diplomatic handshake.