US President Donald Trump and Angela Merkel’s meeting at White House turned little awkward when the former ignored media’s repeated request to shake hands with the German Chancellor for a customary photocall.
Trump greeted Merkel with a handshake outside the building, but refused the gesture during the meeting at the Oval Office. He barely made an eye contact with the German head during the photo session. The discomfort of two leaders, who disagree on various key issues including trade and immigration, were in full view.
When the reporters asked “Do you want to have a handshake? Mr Trump briefly turned towards her, but continued sitting with his legs apart and hands intact. In response to calls from the press, Merkel asked Trump if he wanted to shake hands for the cameras, but the President did not respond. Merkel, who was also wearing a thin smile, turned back to face the cameras.
Trump, known for his enthusiastic greetings, did extend his hand to Merkel when she arrived at the White House.
“I’ve always said it’s much, much better to talk to one another and not about one another, and I think our conversation proved this,” Merkel said through a translator during a joint press conference with her host, who in the past accused her of “ruining” Germany by admitting large numbers of Middle Eastern refugees.
Twitter was quick to take swipe at the US President after his refusal to shake hands with Merkel.
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 sits there like an offended child and refuses the handshake with Merkel. The pictures speak volumes!” https://t.co/Qpvd1LUoeY
— Robert Loerzel (@robertloerzel) March 17, 2017
Trump was worried a strong German woman like Angela Merkel might crush his tiny hands. #handshake
— Alt Fed Employee (@Alt_FedEmployee) March 17, 2017
Like he just lost a little league game and is refusing to shake hands with the other team. https://t.co/5UGC3P0Vfz
— Luke O’Neil (@lukeoneil47) March 17, 2017
Trudeau inner dialogue: “Jesus Christ, he even spray tans the inside of his palms.” pic.twitter.com/rsr2NfyYL4
— Aaron Vallely (@Vallmeister) February 14, 2017
The President, meanwhile, praised the Chancellor for Germany’s efforts in Afghanistan and its contributions to the fight against the Islamic State.