This One Photo Of Trump & Angela Merkel Sums Up How People Feel About The G20

by Chris Tognotti
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Mingling with other world leaders is a part of President Donald Trump's job, but his efforts at building these working relationships have produced some decidedly awkward moments along the way. In Hamburg, Germany, it was no different: One particular photo of Trump and Angela Merkel at the G20 summit appears to have captured that sentiment, if the comments on social media are anything to go by.

Which photo, you ask? Why, the one in which the German chancellor hides her face in her hands as Trump looms over her, his mouth half-open, with a slightly vacant look on his face. Some Twitter users have pointed to the photo as a summary of the event, striking an uncomfortable contrast between the German chancellor and the American president.

While it is impossible to know for a certainty what was going through the two leaders' minds when the camera snapped, it would be an understatement to say the photo left a strong impression on those following the G20. It's one of those images that make you wish you could be a metaphorical fly on the wall, able to safely eavesdrop even for a minute.

The photo of Trump and Merkel, a single moment frozen in time, is far from the only image of the two heads of state to come out of the G20 summit, however. They also drew attention when Trump finally made good on an opportunity to publicly shake hands. Merkel first extended that offer during her Oval Office back visit in March, but Trump seemingly snubbed her, ignoring her suggestion of a handshake for the assembled press with a slight grimace on his face.

But if you're looking for a single image that almost perfectly captures the bewildering sentiment about politics today, the one with Merkel hiding her face is it. There's yet to be documentation of other visibly awkward encounter between allies, even more so at a summit where all the world leaders know they're going to run into each other at some point, especially considering Merkel's long experience in such diplomatic settings.

The 62-year-old chancellor has been a force in international politics since her first election in 2005, whereas Trump had no prior experience in politics or governance before entering the presidential race in mid-2015. A recent Pew Research survey found that more Americans trust Merkel to handle international affairs than they trust Trump to do so, by a margin of 10 points.