Balkan Leader Shoved by Trump Visits White House, But Not Trump
(Bloomberg) -- Less than two weeks after being subjected to the shove seen ’round the world, the prime minister of Montenegro visited the White House on Monday to celebrate his country’s entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Dusko Markovic, the Montenegrin leader who became a viral sensation when President Donald Trump appeared to push him aside during a photo of NATO leaders late last month in Brussels, arrived at the White House for a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence.
This time, there was no encounter between the U.S. president and Markovic. Trump didn’t meet with him while he was at the White House, said Michael Short, a spokesman for the president.
Both the Trump administration and Markovic have insisted there’s no bad blood stemming from the incident, which came as the leaders were preparing for the traditional “family photo” at international summits.
Markovic called the jostle an “inoffensive situation” in an interview later with reporters, according to the Washington Post. And White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that while he had not seen the video, the positioning of the leaders in the photo had been determined in advance.
Markovic offered kind words Monday for the administration as his small country -- population 626,000 in 2017 -- came under the protection of the U.S. military umbrella. Montenegro’s official membership in NATO was celebrated during a ceremony at the State Department earlier Monday, making the Balkan country the 29th nation to join the mutual-defense pact.
“This is also confirmation of something that has never been questioned -- that Americans remain committed to the stability and security of the western Balkans and Europe,” Markovic said.