The Guardian reported that when Obama arrived in Hangzhou, China, on Saturday, a day before the start of the G20 Summit, Chinese authorities refused to roll out a red carpet staircase for him, thus forcing him to disembark Air Force One from a rarely used exit in its rear end.
When at least he made it onto the tarmac, another controversy happened – this one between U.S. and Chinese officials, the latter of whom demanded that any journalists traveling with the president leave the arrival scene immediately.
Obama’s White House Officials reportedly tried to deny this request, barking at Chinese authorities that this was their president and their airplane.
However, this failed horribly.
“This is our country!” an unidentified Chinese government official yelled back. “This is our airport!”
Government official was not happy that reporters were under the wing of AF1. WH press aide would not back down. pic.twitter.com/C3JRVIe37K
— Roberta Rampton (@robertarampton) September 3, 2016
Speaking with reporters, Mexico’s former ambassador to China, Jorge Guajardo, later theorized that what happened at the airport – from the staircase fiasco to the squabble on the tarmac – was not accidental.
“These things do not happen by mistake,” he said, according to the Guardian. “Not with the Chinese … It’s a snub. It’s a way of saying: ‘You know, you’re not that special to us.’”
This isn’t what international diplomacy is supposed to look like, but it shows what years of Obama’s feckless leadership has done to America’s image.
Bill Bishop, a retired college professor and expert on China, concurred, telling The Guardian that China’s behavior was deliberate and meant “to make the Americans look diminished and weak.”
“This clearly plays very much into the [idea]: ‘Look, we can make the American president go out of the a– of the plane,’” he said.