Nothing Says “Happiness” and “Relief” Like Angela Merkel Seeing Barack Obama Again

Smiles, everywhere, at the Brandenburg Gate.

Sophia Kembowski/DPA via ZUMA PressSo happy.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel is having quite the day with current and former US presidents.

This morning she met with Barack Obama for breakfast and an event in front of thousands at the Brandenburg Gate, and with the rendezvous came a rhapsody of smiles and mutual affection.

“We can’t hide behind a wall,” Obama told the rapt audience, a none-too-subtle dig at his successor, in his first speaking appearance in Europe since he left office. The crowd lapped it up.

Tonight, Merkel is in Brussels meeting current US president—and handshake-refuser—Donald Trump at a NATO summit.

Two presidents, one day. How is it going? One clue can be read in their faces. Note, if you will, the sheer number and range of smiles shared between Merkel and Obama this morning.

Like this one, the “is-it-really-you, B?” smile:

Or this, the “we-were-so-good-together, remember?” smile:

The “I-know-you’ve-moved-on, but-our-old-jokes-were-better-than-others’-jokes” smile:

And then there was this elegant wave-of-the-hand smile; B.O. pleased as punch:

Nicole Kubelka/face to face via ZUMA Press

Meanwhile, in Brussels, early photos indicate a….very different rapport:

Merkel and Trump pictured during the unveiling ceremony of the new headquarters of NATO in Brussels, Wednesday.Benoit Doppagne/Belga via ZUMA Press

 

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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