The “date” between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former US President Barack Obama, who met in Berlin, stirred social media with photo evidence of their tender friendship. Merkel hosted Obama, who is in Germany for a series of public events, at the chancellor’s office in the German capital. They talked for an hour and a half during a private meeting. Before cozying up in her office, Merkel came out of the building to personally greet the ex-US president on the red carpet. As the German outlet Die Welt points out, transatlantic relations, now clouded with rows over tariffs and the US pull-out from the 2015 Iran deal, might be the central theme of this date.
Yet, when German government spokesman Steffen Seibert was asked if the meeting was a clear sign to Donald Trump, he said “I would strongly disagree with this impression”. He stated that the meeting was a private appointment, and noted that the chancellor met the former US president for a conversation — as is the fashion with former presidents and heads of government, "with whom she worked closely and well for a long time after their term is over”. Nevertheless, this discussion was not meant for the press, according to a government spokeswoman.
But even paparazzi-style photos of Merkel, warmly welcoming Obama at her office doors, and both politicians, seen to be discussing something through a glass window, immediately became the talk of social media.
After seeing these pictures of Obama and Merkel taken at Obama’s visit to Germany TODAY, I know Merkel is the one to leak it.😂 pic.twitter.com/VjDeReoCxX— WhyGee (@sacmom3) April 5, 2019
Some suspected a kind of a conspiracy or disrespect towards the current US president.
Did anyone see the photo of Angela Merkel embracing Barack Hussein Obama? It’s unbelievable. Maybe he’s arranging for asylum when the Truth comes out about his gross corruption and using Federal police agencies to attack an opposing party! One can hope! pic.twitter.com/RGpWJlARig— Jackie Ashley (@JacueQ) April 6, 2019
Barack Obama traveled to Berlin today to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel at her office in private.— 🇺🇸 Jack Ralph 🇺🇸 (@NevadaJack2) April 6, 2019
German officials characterized the meeting as “routine.”
Recall, Barack met with Angela in 2017 to “discuss democracy.”https://t.co/YUl9ugqKdC
.🙏🇺🇸🤔I don’t like this so called meeting between Merkel & @BarackObama. It’s disrespectful to @POTUS & America. Obama is not acting on behalf of the USA, the President didn’t ask him to represent USA. https://t.co/UZJgTTrfEK— Lee Heath (@L_Heath01) April 6, 2019
Others reproached Obama for sticking to his presidential habits.
He still doesn't realize he isn't President any more..https://t.co/8eWLbMNb3E— MommaCovfefe (@DeplorableMom2) April 6, 2019
However, many were just touched by their friendly relationship.
Sometimes a picture just takes you back to a much better time. I’m sure Angela Merkel felt much the same when she met with Barack Obama today in Berlin. I think it’s safe to say she hasn’t looked that happy since Jan. 20, 2017. pic.twitter.com/i5qCvYaLlH— Kenny BooYah! (@KwikWarren) April 6, 2019
Some day, I want someone to look at me the way Barack Obama looks at Angela Merkel. pic.twitter.com/krEMFxZjvT— Seth Stevenson (@seth__stevenson) April 5, 2019
Merkel and Obama had developed a kind of political friendship during his eight years in the White House despite her being the head of the conservative Christian Democratic Union and him belonging to the more liberal US Democratic Party. Obama even branded Merkel one of his “favourite partners” during his time in office.
However, it was not only words, because his last international visit as president happened to be a trip to Germany in November 2016 and the final call as president from the White House before vacating it for Trump was to Angela Merkel. Since leaving office, Obama has visited Berlin on numerous occasions and even shared a stage with Merkel during a forum in May 2017.
Even the body language in their photos was strikingly different from her posture with Trump. Despite occasionally praising Merkel in his public speeches, Trump is often heard lambasting Germany for missing NATO’s 2% guideline, or imbalanced trade with the US.