From Melania to Merkel: 4 telltale G20 moments
From US First Lady Melania Trump’s travails to the reserved German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s facial twitches, here are some of the anecdotal moments that livened up this year’s G20 summit of world leaders in Hamburg.
Bad day for Melania
US First Lady Melania Trump was due to go on a cruise tour with other spouses of G20 leaders, but was instead trapped at her residence as anti-globalization demonstrators went on the rampage, smashing shop windows and burning cars. She finally emerged. But her husband Donald was locked in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “There are so many issues on the table... Just about everything got touched upon... Neither one of them wanted to stop” talking, said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. “I believe they even sent in the First Lady at one point to see if she could get us out of there, but that didn’t work either... We did another hour. Clearly she failed!” he added.
Macron warms up to Trump
If a video of France’s President Emmanuel Macron swerving away from Trump to greet other leaders was a key image trending on social media sites during the NATO summit earlier this year, at the G20, there appears to have been a clear rapprochement between the young leader and the US property tycoon. Macron was firmly at Trump’s side at key “family photo” sessions of the leaders. He even inserted himself to the far right of the entire group at one photography session, saving the US leader from being at the edge of the picture. At a morning session yesterday, Macron was seen greeting Trump enthusiastically. The French leader leaned towards the US leader at one point, sparking questions on whether he offered him a peck on the cheek. But journalists at the scene say it was a more of a hug.
Who were they clapping for?
Trump, among the last leaders to arrive at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall for a cultural evening, appeared to be greeted by a round of applause as he stepped out of his armored vehicle. The US leader gamely returned a big smile. It turned out that the applause was for Macron, who pulled up just behind Trump, German media reported.
Merkel rolling her eyes at Putin
An animated encounter between Merkel and Putin has been making the rounds on social media, with questions abuzz about what the two leaders discussed. Walking into the conference room, Merkel lifted a hand and traced what appeared to a movement of a projectile. But Putin lifted a finger, appearing to then offer his version of the same gesture, prompting the usually poker-faced German chancellor to roll her eyes.
HAMBURG: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) talks to Saudi Arabia’s State Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf prior to a working session at the G-20 summit in Hamburg.