Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Fix | Analysis

Trump's meeting with 'catastrophic leader' Angela Merkel was as awkward as you'd expect

March 17, 2017 at 2:27 PM

This post has been updated.

President Trump welcomed the person who is ruining Germany to the White House on Friday. Or, at least, that's how candidate Trump once described Angela Merkel.

Over the course of his campaign, Trump also routinely attacked the German chancellor's refugee policies, dubbing Hillary Clinton "America's Angela Merkel" and saying Merkel had turned out to be a "catastrophic leader." To Trump, Merkel was basically a punchline and a bogeywoman for the anti-refugee crowd. (He would later also call her a great leader, for some reason.)

So when Merkel visited the White House, we could be forgiven for sensing a little bit of awkwardness. Here are some photos:

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
(Evan Vucci/AP)
(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
(Pool photo by Pat Benic via European Pressphoto Agency)
(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
(Evan Vucci/AP)

Trump didn't respond to shouted questions about his past criticisms of Merkel after the photo op, but Merkel later made an oblique reference to them during their news conference.

Okay. We know. We know. A photo can be misleading. So we'll show you the video and let you judge for yourself.

Watch more!
President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel share an awkward photo op in the Oval Office. (The Washington Post)

At least he didn't try to rub her back to make up for his past comments.


Aaron Blake is senior political reporter, writing for The Fix. A Minnesota native, he has also written about politics for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Hill newspaper.

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