Mike Pompeo Tried To Shake Hands With World Leaders At Denmark Meetings, But They Turned Him Down

Mike Pompeo landed in Denmark for international meetings about a planned gas pipeline from Russia to Germany but didn’t get the warm greeting he was seeking.

As The Week reported, the U.S. secretary of state is opposed to the pipeline but tried to strike a diplomatic tone and extended his hand for a handshake from Greenland Foreign Minister Steen Lynge. According to the outlet, Pompeo’s counterpart declined to extend his hand in return, instead opting for an elbow bump.

The move did not appear to be a slight on the part of the Greenland leader. Instead, he seemed conscious of the recommendations from public health experts not to touch others directly. This is one of the many social distancing measures recommended as a best practice to close the spread of the virus, though Washington Post reporter John Hudson pointed out on Twitter that Denmark does not have a significant problem with coronavirus, and Greenland has been able to stop the spread of the virus almost entirely through strict restrictions on travel and visitors.

Pompeo then tried to offer a handshake to Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod, but was turned down again, the report noted. Pompeo quickly pulled his hand back and accepted a pat on the shoulder.

While the secretary of state is expected to play an important role in the international meetings — and his opposition to the project could prove to be significant — The Week reported that the incident seems to display the disparity with which America had handled the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The exchange provides just another example of how the rest of the world is viewing the U.S. and its coronavirus outbreak right now,” the report added. “Denmark has only seen 13,500 cases of coronavirus and 611 deaths as of Wednesday, compared to the U.S.’s nearly 4 million cases and 145,000 deaths.”

The disparities have been seen in other international relations besides the snubbed handshakes for Pompeo. The Canadian border remains closed as America’s neighbor to the north has taken action to prevent travelers who could spread the disease and protect against the outbreak taking place south of the border.

Other countries have been closed to American visitors — including the Bahamas, which, earlier this week, announced that American travelers would be banned from visiting. Some world figures have also been critical of how President Donald Trump has responded to the pandemic and for his decision to pull the country out of the World Health Organization.