Cold diplomacy

Watch: Trump refuses handshake with Merkel during White House photo op

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 17, 2017. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

The snowstorm that pounded the Northeast on Tuesday postponed President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meeting until Friday, when the two leaders came face to face at the White House. Despite the stormy winter weather being long gone, there was still a palpable chill in the Oval Office while the two sat for a photo op. As The Associated Press noted, Trump’s numerous digs at Merkel — most notably he accused her of “ruining” Germany by allowing so many immigrants into the country — while he was campaigning, and her criticisms of him, set the stage for an awkward meeting, and that outcome resulted. Trump and Merkel sat side-by-side in front of reporters, the tension thick as camera shutters snapped furiously.

 “Send a good picture back to Germany, please. Make sure …” Trump said, attempting a little levity, before basically dodging a reporter’s question.

 Then, Merkel leaned toward Trump and asked something like, “Shall we have a handshake?” Trump just ignored the question. Some journalists then asked whether a handshake would be part of the photo op, but again Trump seemed to pretend like he didn’t hear the questions. Earlier in his fledgling presidency, Trump met with British Prime Minister Theresa May, and the issue of hand embraces also played an interesting role.

Watch the video from Friday below.

A second angle from the press gaggle clearly showed Trump intentionally ignored Merkel’s suggestion to embrace for the cameras.

Later on, Trump and Merkel held a joint press conference where they talked with reporters about the agenda they discussed, including NATO, the fight against ISIS, trade, and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Ukraine, The Associated Press reported. Merkel began her remarks saying,  it’s “much better to talk to one another and not about one another.” At the conclusion of the press conference, the two were photographed shaking hands, though Merkel still did not seem amused by Trump, even during a shaky attempt at humor moments before.

U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands at the conclusion of their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 17, 2017. (REUTERS/Jim Bourg)

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