Diplomatic disaster: Donald Trump refuses handshake request from German leader Angela Merkel

Was Donald Trump trying to create yet another international incident, or was he suffering from some kind of cognitive problem? Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel sat together today for photos and questions from reporters, and at the end, Merkel asked Trump if he wanted to share a handshake before the cameras. And Trump just sat there.

The stunning moment was broadcast on live television on multiple cable outlets. Despite the ideological differences between Donald Trump and Angela Merkel, and the personal shots he’s taken at her on Twitter over the past year, their meeting seemed to go cordially today. Merkel, ever the professional, has never engaged Trump when he’s tweeted mean things about her. And here she was, meeting with him in the White House, willing to pretend for the sake of international diplomacy that he’s a legitimate world leader. But then it happened.

At the end of the photo op, Merkel clearly said to Trump – in English no less – “Do you want to have a handshake?” Trump responded by just looking around at the cameras. This is a guy who loves handshakes. Well, at least he loves using exaggerated handshakes as power plays against male world leaders. But here he was, meeting with the most powerful female office holder on the planet, who just happens to represent a key ally of the United States, and… nothing.

Was Trump trying to make some kind of warped statement by ignoring Merkel’s handshake offer? Was this his way of signaling that he’s rooting for her to lose her upcoming reelection bid? Or did his mind wander off to the point that he had no idea what was being said to him in? It’s difficult to imagine that it was the latter, because it was the moment during these photo ops in which allied leaders always shake hands. And yet this absurd moment just happened. (Contribute to Palmer Report). Watch the video for yourself:

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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report

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