Armin Laschet, the man most favored to succeed Angela Merkel as the next German chancellor, was caught on camera laughing and joking while surveying flood-affected areas and was forced to apologize today.
Laschet was photographed laughing and joking with people during the survey trip.
According to a video posted on social networks such as Deutsche Welle, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued a statement expressing sympathy for the residents of Erftstadt, a town in North Rhine-Westphalia that has been hit hard by the floods. While expressing his sympathy for the residents of Erftstadt, Rachet and the others in the back chatted and laughed, even for a few seconds.
“The nation is crying, Rachet is laughing,” Germany’s top-circulation newspaper Bild said in a newsletter.
Rachet later apologized on Twitter, saying he was deeply shocked by the suffering of the flood victims and regretted that his “a conversation situation gave such an impression”.
“It was very inappropriate and I’m sorry.”
At least 144 people have died in Germany since the 14th in the catastrophic floods. The natural disaster has also claimed 27 lives in neighboring Belgium and severely affected Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Germany will hold a parliamentary election on Sept. 26, with Rachet’s conservatives leading with 30 percent and the opposition Greens in second place with about 20 percent. the election will mark the end of Merkel’s 16 years in power after she announced she would not run for re-election.