Everyone, by now, has seen this photo from the weekend – picturing President Donald Trump surrounded by the leaders of other G7 countries.
And literally everyone knows the whole “a picture is worth 1,000 words” cliche.
What’s fascinating to me about the photo above is that it speaks volumes – not necessarily in and of itself, but in how people react to it. It speaks 1,000 words – but those words are totally different depending on what you think of Trump. The picture amounts to a Trump Rohrshach test.
If you loathe the President (or have deep concerns about his tendency to fight with our allies and meet with our enemies) photo of Trump, arms crossed and scowling, surrounded by a perplexed world community, is your nightmare.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the face of this frustration – hands splayed on the table, staring at Trump in something that can be rightly described as amazed disbelief. (Merkel’s office sent out the photo, making clear they believe it paints her in a positive – and forceful – light.)
Some will identify with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who stands to Trump’s right with a look on his face that reminds me of how I look when I walk in to a pharmacy to fill a prescription and there are 15 people in front of me in line and one cashier.
Abe, of course, is no stranger to amazing facial reactions when in the presence of Trump. Let us never forget how he reacted to the classic Trumpian “tug and pull” handshake back in 2017:
If you love the President, the G7 photo encapsulates everything you hoped he might be on the world stage.
Unlike President Barack Obama – or even President George W. Bush – Trump isn’t hamming it up with a bunch of world leaders. He’s sticking by his guns. He doesn’t care if these people like him or not. He ran to make America great again, not to make Canada/France/Germany great again. Finally, we have a President who is more interested in doing what’s right for his country than doing things that ensure he is well received in European capitals.
This photo, for Trump backers, is the visual representation of the President’s famous/infamous pledge when he pulled the US out of the Paris climate accords: “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
Like all great art, what this photo means depends on the person looking at it.