European Council President Donald Tusk took to Instagram on Thursday to ridicule the British prime minister, posting a photo of the pair standing side-by-side captioned, “A piece of cake, perhaps? Sorry, no cherries.”
Tusk’s social media post refers to an ongoing joke in Brussels that the UK “wants to have its cake and eat it”, which began after a remark by former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. The EU has also accused the UK government of cherry-picking.
An EU source told the BBC that Tusk’s post was his idea and is an attempt to appeal to and reach younger audiences.
“He's the one coming up with these posts — he has a good sense of what works and what doesn't," says an EU source working with Tusk on social media. He's not the biggest social media geek but he likes it,” the source said on Friday.
However, the post was not universally well received, with many Brits, including MPs and journalists, taking to social media to express their anger at Tusk, an “unelected EU bureaucrat”, seemingly failing to understand the gravity of the talks.
This man Donald Tusk @eucopresident is an unelected Brussels bureaucrat whose wages are paid in part by the British taxpayer. And this is how he openly mocks the British Prime Minister, our country and our democratic vote. #TimeToLeave. pic.twitter.com/IRbj0ROEcW— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) September 20, 2018
This is extraordinarily disrespectful. https://t.co/Z30JeQCz3h— Charlie Elphicke (@CharlieElphicke) September 20, 2018
Others described his Instagram post as “brutal” and “brilliant trolling.”
Brilliant trolling from Tusk https://t.co/PNl5QRNuLw— William Buist #EndTheChaos #PeoplesVote #FBPE (@WilliamBuist) September 20, 2018
Imagine staging this photo just so you can rinse a fellow world leader in your Instagram story. Absolutely brutal From Donald Tusk. pic.twitter.com/4JZgo9PDSn— Joey D'Urso (@josephmdurso) September 20, 2018
Journalist Piers Morgan insisted that the EU is “openly mocking” the UK, suggesting Britain needs a stronger leader to “shove any deal up his [Tusk's] patronizing “a**e.”
They’re now openly mocking us.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 21, 2018
Britain needs a leader strong enough to take Donald Tusk’s cake & shove it in his smug face — then tell him to shove any deal up his patronising a**e.
Churchill & Thatcher would never have put up with this. pic.twitter.com/2sKvMpQXtf