World leaders mocked Russian President Vladimir Putin’s tough-man image at a G7 lunch in Germany on Sunday, joking about whether they should strip down to shirtsleeves — or even less.
“Jackets on? Jackets off? Do we take our coats off?” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked as he sat down at the table in Bavaria’s picturesque Elmau Castle, where Chancellor Olaf Scholz was hosting the summit of seven powerful democracies.
The leaders — from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and also the European Union — pondered the dilemma.
Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, suggested “let’s wait” for the official picture before disrobing, but then Johnson quipped “we have to show that we’re tougher than Putin” and the joke kept rolling.
“We’re going to get the bare-chested horseback riding display,” Trudeau said, referring to Putin’s infamous 2009 photo-op of himself riding shirtless on a horse.
“Horseback riding is the best,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, without apparently weighing in on the clothing issue itself.
The leaders posed — jackets on — for photos before reporters were hustled out of the room, leaving the sartorial debate behind closed doors.