It was only taken 11 days ago, but the picture of Donald Trump sitting at the G7 summit, his arms crossed and a smirk on his face, as German chancellor Angela Merkel stares him down, has already become iconic.
In it, some see evidence of Trump’s “America first” stance on the international stage. Others see a 72-year-old toddler having a hissy fit. On CBS This Morning, Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer provided some context for what was happening when the picture was taken.
In the moment, Bremmer said, Merkel and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau had gathered other world leaders to convince Trump to sign an agreement for a “rules-based international order.”
As the photo shows, their arguments were not warmly received, but Trump did eventually agree to join the other G7 nations in signing the communique. Bremmer describes what happened next: “He stood up, he put his hand in his suit jacket pocket and he took two Starburst candies out, threw them on the table, and said to Merkel, ‘Here, Angela, don’t say I never gave you anything.’”
Like the photo above, this seemingly insulting move can be read two different ways. Bremmer suggests it was a manifestation of his frustration with the summit, which he didn’t want to attend. Norah O’Donnell wonders if it could be considered a “Starburst outburst.”
But there’s also the possibility that Trump was issuing his version of an apology to Merkel for being such a pain in the ass. After all, he’s one of the greediest, least charitable billionaires in the world. He’s not going to give up two Starburst for nothing. There’s a third possibility too. He knew he wasn’t going to follow through with his promise (he later went back on his word to sign the agreement) and was giving Merkel a preemptive apology.