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EU’s Verhofstadt goes viral after teasing Trump over Russia ties in global caption contest

Yahoo News Staff
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to US President Donald Trump during the G7 meeting (Reuters)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to US President Donald Trump during the G7 meeting (Reuters)

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel set-off to Canada for the G7 summit, launching a global caption contest was probably not on her list of priorities.

But that’s exactly what she – or more likely her staff – has inadvertently achieved.

The unlikely turn of events began when Merkel leaned in for a chat with US President Donald Trump during the summit on Saturday.

The moment was captured by a German government photographer and posted on Merkel’s official Instagram account yesterday.

The image, which has been likened to a Rembrandt painting, just seems to invite viewers to imagine the exchange.

Hundreds have had a go at doing exactly that on social media but one entry stands out – that of quick-witted MEP Guy Verhofstadt.

“Just tell us what Vladimir has on you. Maybe we can help,” wrote Verhofstadt, the former PM of Belgium who is now the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator.

The choice of caption poked fun at Trump’s unpopular proposal that Russia should be allowed to re-join the international alliance.

It was also no doubt a nod to allegations of Russian involvement in Trump’s election campaign.

So far, more than 27,000 Twitter users have shared Verhofstadt’s cheeky dig at the US President.

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung had an equally biting take on the photo.

“At least try the broccoli,” they wrote. With Merkel being known in Germany as “Mutti” (a familiar form of the word for mother), the implication about Trump’s global role was clear.

The mass of online mockery of the photo didn’t stop Trump’s team from sharing it though.

For them it told a very different story. It was proof that Trump, with his arms folded in the face of European pressure, was truly putting America first.

John Bolton, the US President’s security advisor, who is standing just next to Trump in the photo posted it with the words: “Just another #G7 where other countries expect America will always be their bank. The President made it clear today. No more.”