President Trump's first trip abroad has been colorful, to say the least. On Thursday, during a meeting with NATO leaders, Trump appeared to shove Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic in an overeager attempt to get to the front of the group for a photo.
This episode is the latest addition to the list of strange things that have already happened on this trip. From the mysterious glowing orb which he palmed with Egypt's Abdel Fatah al Sissi and Saudi Arabia's King Salman to the two instances of Melania Trump smacking his hand away, the president's trip has been full of surprises.
This particular incident took place during Trump's first meeting with other members of NATO in Brussels. The video of the incident is only 10 seconds long, but it won't be wrong to say that the secondhand embarrassment will be felt for much longer. In the video, various high-ranking officials can be seen walking forward slowly for a group photo, then suddenly, Trump's hand appears on Markovic's right shoulder. His hand pulls Markovic back abruptly, which elicits a look of confusion from Markovic, who quickly recovers after realizing it's The Donald. Trump then stands a few inches in front of Markovic, adjusts his coat rather smugly, and proceeds to take in the view before him.
It's hard to believe that a 70-year-old president of the most powerful country on Earth could exhibit such juvenile flippancy at his first joint NATO meeting, but anything can happen under Trump's presidency. To make sure that people were not imagining things, CNBC's Steve Kopack shared a slow-motion rendering of the same clip. "Yikes" aptly describes the scene.
Slo-mo: Trump appears to push aside/shove another NATO leader to get to the front of the group. pic.twitter.com/K0OC6QnEL4— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) May 25, 2017
When White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the incident, he claimed that he had not seen the video. As the clip became a viral sensation on Twitter, the denizens of the social network offered their takes on the awkward moment. Even Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling expressed her thoughts in one pithy sentence: "You, tiny, tiny, tiny little man."
You tiny, tiny, tiny little man.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 25, 2017
Diplomacy is an art. It's entirely possible to maintain one's fundamental disagreements with any political organization or figure without displaying childish behavior. This clip seems to demonstrate that Trump is unable of committing to such a rudimentary idea.
For someone who seems to dislike NATO very much, Trump's eagerness to be photographed with its leaders somewhat contradicts his contempt, and shows that he might be vying for something else: attention.