The front-runner to succeed German Chancellor Angela Merkel was captured laughing on camera over the weekend as the country’s president delivered a statement on the devastating floods that have killed at least 164 people in western Germany.
Armin Laschet, 60, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state — one of two German regions badly hit by last week’s floods – was among a contingent of officials Saturday who visited the town of Erfstadt, where a dramatic rescue effort was being carried out after the ground gave way.
As German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier addressed reporters afterward, Laschet was seen breaking out in laughter as he stood with a group of officials in the background.
Lars Klingbeil, general secretary of the country’s rival center-left Social Democrats party, told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that Laschet’s behavior was “lacking in decency and appalling.
“They say that people’s character shows in times of crisis,” he said.
Laschet, the candidate supported by Merkel’s center-right Union