Chancellor-candidate Armin Laschet has apologized for the impression his laughter created during a speech by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the flood plain. He regretted the impression a conversation gave. “This was inappropriate and I’m sorry,” wrote the North Rhine-Westphalia…
Chancellor-candidate Armin Laschet has apologized for the impression his laughter created during a speech by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the flood plain. He regretted the impression a conversation gave. “This was inappropriate and I am sorry,” the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia wrote on Twitter on Saturday evening. “The fate of those affected is close to our hearts and we have heard about it in many conversations.”
Laschet is in the background on television footage and photos taken by photographers during a speech by the Federal President in Erftstadt. In one series, the CDU politician and his companions are joking. You can see how he smiles and turns to his interlocutors.
The photos drew criticism. “The way Armin Laschet hangs out in the background while the Federal President addresses the victims is indecent and outrageous,” said Bild am Sonntag SPD Secretary General Lars Klingbeil. “In times of crisis, the character shows itself. Anyone who sneers without feeling in such difficult situations disqualifies himself.” The pianist Igor Levit spoke of undignified behavior. The former chairman of the German Ethics Council, Peter Dabrock, criticized the lack of respect for the victims. The FDP also took Laschet to court: “Rhineland cheerfulness in honor of nature, but while the Federal President commemorates the victims, hanging around without a mask, the gravity of the situation does not do justice,” said parliamentary group Vice Michael Theurer.
Steinmeier and Laschet had spoken to helpers and firefighters in Erftstadt, where houses and cars had been washed away. In a speech after the meeting, the Federal President expressed his condolences to the victims of the flood disaster, saying: “Your fate tears our hearts to pieces.” (dpa)