President Donald J. Trump has been on a whirlwind tour of international destinations, ranging from visiting the Western Wall in Israel’s capital of Jerusalem to participating in a NATO meeting in Brussels. His trip has included several awkward and controversial moments, which have been mirrored by his administration’s domestic issues and snafus such as presenting a budget with a $2 trillion math error.
May 25: A Day Full of Awkwardness
As is common with a U.S. President’s international trips, Trump visited several locations yesterday. As a result, while the rest of the world was celebrating the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, the media was buzzing with multiple incidents involving the businessman and first-time politician.
For example, in a meeting with E.U. leaders, Trump allegedly included some highly controversial remarks about Germany, according to Der Spiegel, a German newspaper. It was originally reported that he said, “the Germans are evil, very evil.” Later, many media sources updated this to indicate that a bad translation was at fault, and he had actually said, “the Germans are bad, very bad.” Either way, making this type of commentary isn’t likely to help relations between the U.S. and Germany.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker denied Trump said that Germans are evil.
“He said we have a problem, as others do, with the German surplus. So he was not aggressive at all. Bad doesn’t mean evil.”
One of yesterday’s most notable incidents involved Trump seemingly pushing the Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic out of the way so that he could have a front row spot in press photos of NATO leaders. Many media sources are speculating that this was a power move intended to position America first.
Another encounter that captured global headlines was the intense handshake shared by newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump. Unlike many others who have tried to disengage quickly from Trump’s awkward exchanges, Macron held on so tight and so long that Trump let go after his knuckles appeared to begin turning white.
A Visit with the Pope Led to Viral Memes and a Hoax
The recent visit between U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Pope Francis led to a viral photo that was quickly and repeatedly photoshopped to call attention to how unhappy the pope appeared to be. Due to the dour expression on the pope’s face and the way that Trump’s wife, Melania, and daughter, Ivanka, were dressed, the image was quickly turned into a horror meme.
People were so curious about the expression on the pope’s face that comedian Jimmy Kimmel presented doctored footage of Trump appearing to stroke the pope’s hand a couple of times before he tried to grab it. Kimmel took the joke to its logical conclusion by making it appear that the Pope smacked the president’s hand, in what is clearly a reference to recent incidents between Trump and his wife, Melania.
This video was quickly extracted from the Jimmy Kimmel show and presented by some websites and YouTube users as factual footage. The confusion over this hoax seems to be mostly cleared up now, although the video is still being shared on social media sites without any indication that it’s a joke.
Melania Slapped Trump’s Hand Away
Pope Francis may not have actually done it, but Melania has been videotaped slapping her husband’s hand away during this trip. On May 22, after landing at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport in Israel, Trump attempted to hold Melania’s hand. Footage captured of this moment clearly shows her swatting his hand away.
The very next day, Trump tried the same move again. Although his wife didn’t slap his hand that time, she made it clear yet again that she wasn’t going to hold his hand for the cameras. It’s worth noting that something similar happened after Trump was elected, but before he was sworn in.
The Pope and Melania Body Shamed Trump
When Melania Trump met Pope Francis, they shared a brief exchange in Italian. Instead of sharing the usual pleasantries, this conversation delved into body shaming territory. The pope made eye contact with the First Lady and asked her, “What do you give him to eat? Potizza?” Melania laughed and responded, “Potizza? Yes!”
Potizza is a special high-calorie pastry treat that is often eaten during the holidays in Melania’s home nation of Slovenia. In other words, choosing to joke about this with Melania in a language President Trump doesn’t speak could easily be interpreted as fat shaming. Trump has engaged in body shaming others on several documented occasions, so perhaps Pope Francis wasn’t too concerned about using this type of humor.
The Pope Made His Feelings Known
The pope may not have actually smacked Trump’s hand, but he did make his feelings known during the visit in a way that was clearly intended to be eye-opening. It’s customary for gifts to be exchanged between the pope and political visitors.
Three of the items Trump received were the most major writings of Pope Francis to date, including a call to do something about climate change and a 50,000-word piece that strongly attacks the “idolatry of money.” Considering Trump’s climate change denials and self-professed greediness, the pope handed the president a not-so-subtle figurative slap on the wrist that was reported globally.
How will the World React?
Trump has definitely amassed a lot of embarrassing press during this international trip. From Melania and Pope Francis body shaming him to French President Macron apparently taking a stand against his aggressive handshakes, Trump and his administration have provided even more fodder for comedians and his critics worldwide.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]