When it was announced that President Trump would receive German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House, there was immediate speculation that the meeting could be tense, to say the least. After all, Trump spent much of his campaign attacking Merkel, going so far as to invoke her name to insult his opponent, Hillary Clinton, who he said wanted to be “America’s Angela Merkel.”
Footage of the two seemed to confirm the icy relationship. After the world leaders met privately in the Oval Office, press photographers and videographers were allowed to enter and captured an awkward exchange.
In one clip, photographers can be heard asking for the two to shake hands. Trump not only ignores them, but ignores Merkel when she leans over to ask him if he wants to shake hands. In the footage, the two don’t address one another or even make eye contact, although Trump tells the press in the room they had a “very good” meeting discussing “many things.”
The two did shake hands when Trump greeted Merkel upon her arrival at the White House.
Trump and Merkel have differed publicly on a number of issues, most notably immigration. Germany adopted an open-door policy to admit Syrian refugees, which Trump called a “catastrophic mistake.”
The Oval Office snub was notable in part because Trump’s handshakes with other world leaders have been closely scrutinized, mainly for their length and vigor. The president has a grab-and-yank style, which was on full display when he greeted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House. During a photo op with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, their handshake lasted a whopping 19 seconds.
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