Donald Trump had a foot-in-mouth moment at Thursday’s announcement of new trade tariffs, telling a steel worker that his father is “looking down on you,” only to be told immediately afterward that the man’s father is still very much alive.
The awkward exchange went viral almost immediately, with video spreading quickly around the internet, the latest in a long line of flubs for Donald Trump since he became president. It quickly became one of the biggest trending videos on social media and even overshadowed the controversial signing of trade tariffs that experts warn could be an impact to the still-growing economy.
As the New York Times noted, Trump announced that he was signing new tariffs on steel and aluminum, and included steel workers for a photo-op, some of them wearing working clothes and hard hats. Trump talked up the tariffs as good for these industries, which have fallen on harder times amid growing competition globally.
As he was singing the tariffs, Trump shook the hand of one of the steel workers and told him, “Your father, Herman, is looking down on you.”
“Oh, he’s still alive,” the man replied.
Video of the exchange can be seen below.
Trump tells steel worker: "Your father, Herman, is looking down on you." "Oh, he's still alive," the steel worker responds. pic.twitter.com/xsw7tFIY40
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 8, 2018
Trump hints at steel tariff flexibility for 'real friends' https://t.co/HzI8AVDanQ
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 8, 2018
This is not the first time that Donald Trump has gotten into a bit of an awkward exchange. Although he made his bones as a reality television start on The Apprentice, Trump has often appeared less-than-polished in his public appearances, and in fact, the New York Times even compiled a list of Trump’s most uncomfortable public moments. One of the worst came during a visit with world leaders last year, when Donald Trump pushed his way past Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic so that Trump could be in the front row for a photo op.
You tiny, tiny, tiny little man.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 25, 2017
Trump also drew criticism for an awkward dance when meeting with Saudi royals last year, especially ironic given Trump’s frequent blasts that Barack Obama was in appropriate (or even emasculated) in public appearances.
And here is President Trump dancing in Saudi Arabia. pic.twitter.com/6KkCmwoVvN
— David Mack (@davidmackau) May 20, 2017
Some of the most awkward exchanges have come between Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, including what appeared to be some icy moments where Melania has pulled away from Donald’s attempts to hold her hand in public.
There is no word on whether the steel worker’s father was watching, but Donald Trump is sure that the father is proud, dead or alive.