America first? Trump pushes aside Montenegro Prime Minster Markovic during NATO photocall
In this image taken from NATO TV, Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, second right, appears to be pushed by U.S. President Donald Trump as they were given a tour of NATO's new headquarters after taking part in a group photo, during a NATO summit of heads of state and government in Brussels on Thursday, May 25, 2017. (NATO TV via AP)
BRUSSELS — President Donald Trump’s push to get in front of the pack at a NATO summit generated indignation in the Balkans and garnered attention on social media — but the man he shoved aside took it in stride.
At Thursday’s gathering in Brussels, Trump put his right hand on the right arm of Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and pushed himself ahead as NATO leaders walked inside the alliance’s new headquarters and prepared for a group photo.
Trump then stood near Markovic and spoke to Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.
Video of the incident spread on social networks in multiple languages.
Did Trump just shove another NATO leader to be in the front of the group? pic.twitter.com/bL1r2auELd— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) May 25, 2017
“It seems Donald Trump did not want that anyone overshadows his presence at the summit,” said the Montenegro newspaper Vijesti.
Other Balkan websites ran headlines such as “America First” and “Where do you think you are going?”
Markovic himself, however, shrugged off the slight.
“It didn’t really register. I just saw reactions about it on social networks. It is simply a harmless situation,” he told reporters after the summit.
Instead of being insulted, he took the opportunity to thank Trump for supporting Montenegro’s membership in NATO. The small former Yugoslav republic is slated to become NATO’s 29th member next month.
And in any case, Markovic said, “it is natural that the president of the United States is in the front row.”