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Trump Appears to Push Aside the Leader of Montenegro

The Balkan state is in the process of formally joining NATO, but membership, it seems, does not earn it a spot at the front of the line.

Video footage of world leaders at a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday shows President Trump appearing to push his way past the Montenegrin prime minister, Dusko Markovic, as he made his way to the front of the group. The leaders were lining up to take a “family photo,” as is tradition at such summits.

— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) May 25, 2017

With a grimace, Mr. Trump emerges from behind Mr. Markovic and slaps him on the arm. Mr. Markovic seems surprised at first, but then smiles and makes way for Mr. Trump who, once present at the front of the group, straightens up, stands tall, scans the room and pulls the sides of his coat together.

Photo

President Trump at the NATO summit with world leaders in Brussels on Thursday.Credit Matt Dunham/Associated Press

The video, shared widely on social media, elicited disdain and mockery aimed at Mr. Trump, who is known for both his criticism of the alliance and his fondness for the spotlight.

— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 25, 2017

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When reached for comment on Thursday, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said he had not yet seen the video, but noted that the world leaders were gathered for a photo with a predetermined standing order.

An unnamed White House official, speaking to a Politico reporter, said it appeared that Mr. Trump slapped Mr. Markovic on the arm as a “casual greeting.”

Montenegro’s accession to NATO, nine years after the process began, has prompted threats and anger from Russia, which opposes expansion of the alliance in the region and was accused last year of plotting a coup to install a new government in the country that is more hostile to NATO.

Michael Shear contributed reporting.

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