Angela Merkel is poised for an awkward diplomatic dance with a number of macho strongmen at the G20 summit. While the German chancellor carefully navigates around sensitive topics such as climate change to ensure it doesn’t derail the summit, her husband, Joachim Sauer, is not beating around the bush.
Sauer is reportedly planning to take US president Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and first lady Melania Trump, as well as the other spouses of G20 leaders, on a tour around a climate change lab. The spouses of G20 leaders will visit the German Climate Computing Center today (July 7), a facility that uses supercomputers to model climate change and map its effects across the world. Sauer will also be taking the spouses on a river cruise and sightseeing tour of Hamburg.
The visit to the climate lab is no coincidence. It follows Trump’s widely criticized decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord (the president had insisted the agreement was “very unfair” to the US). By pulling out of the agreement, the US joins a small group of countries, including Syria, who did not ratify the agreement
Trump pulled out of the agreement despite Ivanka’s reported attempts to convince him otherwise. As soon as her father won the presidency, Ivanka brought Al Gore to Trump Tower to discuss climate change with Trump and sat down with the actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who gave her a copy of his climate-change documentary Before the Flood. Ivanka also organized five weeks of meetings focused on the Paris agreement. When Trump declared the US would exit the accord, Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, were notably absent from the announcement.
While Sauer, a scientist and professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin, has not publicly commented on Trump’s decision to pull out of the accord (he prefers to stay out of the spotlight), Merkel described Trump’s withdrawal as “extremely regrettable.” French president Emmanuel Macron went one step further, trolling Trump with a call to “make our planet great again.”