NEWS

Donald Trump Ignores Angela Merkel When She Suggests Shaking Hands During White House Meeting

Ouch.

17/03/2017 17:46 | Updated 17 March 2017

Donald Trump seemed to ignore Angela Merkel’s suggestion they shake hands, in an incredibly awkward moment during their first meeting.

The German chancellor was sitting stiffly with the president before a group of photographers in the White House on Friday.

When the snappers clamoured for the pair to shake hands, Merkel - who rarely speaks English in public - asked Trump if he wanted to do this.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Merkel and Trump before the cameras in the Oval Office

Looking like he would rather be anywhere else and looking away from her, Trump either did not hear or chose to ignore her.

Merkel leaned back in her seat and pulled an awkward face.

The meeting was destined to be awkward. Merkel’s welcoming approach to refugees has been the exact opposite of Trump’s approach, who has ordered two travel bans from Muslim countries in his short presidency, both thrown out by the courts.

When he was elected in November, Merkel warned him his relationship with Germany would only succeed if he upheld “the dignity of man, independent of origin”.

Just before the handshake-that-wasn’t moment, Merkel answered questions in German, saying their talks were “very good” and it had been a “good opportunity”.

Trump was similarly brief, saying the talks were good and they had talked about “many things”.

Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
Trump and Merkel earlier in the day

The pair did shake hands when they first met earlier on Friday and there was speculation they fell out at some point after that.

They spoke jointly in the White House later on Friday, when Trump compared his made-up claim about being wire-tapped by the Obama administration to the NSA targeting Merkel’s mobile phone, which was revealed by Edward Snowden during the Obama presidency.

“At least we have something in commons perhaps,” Trump said to laughter in the room. Merkel looked stunned.

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