Germany's Laschet apologises for laughing during a visit to a flood-ravaged zone
- After getting caught on camera laughing during a visit to a flood-damaged town, German chancellor candidate Armin Laschet was made to apologise
- To the horror of the viewers, he burst out laughing at one time in the circulated clip.
- This was followed by Laschet apologising on Twitter, saying"the impression that was given by a conversation situation" was misleading
After getting caught on camera laughing during a visit to a flood-damaged town, German chancellor candidate Armin Laschet was made to apologise. He is the frontrunner in the race to succeed Angela Merkel.
As President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed sympathy for victims in the hard-hit town of Erftstadt in a statement, Laschet was seen joking in the background with many others.
To the horror of the viewers, he burst out laughing at one time in the circulated clip.
"Laschet laughs while the country cries," the best-selling Bild daily said on its website.
This was followed by Laschet apologising on Twitter, saving his face by saying that "the impression that was given by a conversation situation" was misleading and he was deeply moved by the suffering of the flood victims.
"This was inappropriate and I'm sorry."
The German Chancellor candidate was condemned by commentators and politicians.
"I'm speechless," tweeted Lars Klingbeil, secretary general of the centre-left Social Democrats, who govern together with Merkel and Laschet's conservative CDU/CSU bloc.
"This is all apparently a big joke to (Laschet)," wrote Maximilian Reimers from the far-left Die Linke opposition party. "How could he be a chancellor?"
This comes soon after Laschet was widely panned for admonishing a female reporter and calling her "young lady" during a serious back and forth about the link between the deadly floods and climate change.
"Excuse me, young lady, you don't change policies just because of one day like this," said Laschet.
Germany has counted more than 140 lives lost since July 14, 2021, while neighbouring Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands have also been affected by the heavy storms.
Erftstadt in NRW has witnessed major devastation following heavy rainfall due to a landslide in the town.
"I grew up in Erftstadt," tweeted Olav Waschkies. "The behaviour of our state premier is unacceptable and unforgivable."
Laschet's conservatives are leading in opinion polls with 30 percent support ahead of a September 26 general election that will mark the end of Merkel's 16 years in power.
The opposition Greens are in second place at around 20 percent.