Is This Thing On?

2 minute read

‘Are you working on this?’

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about hate speech directed toward migrants in Germany on Facebook at a U.N. summit luncheon in September 2015. A table mike also picked up Zuckerberg’s response: “Yeah.”

‘I’m very fond of battles. With the enemies, of course, with America and Israel.’

Magdi Hussein, leader of Egypt’s Islamic Labor Party, let slip whom he considered the country’s true enemies to be during a 2013 parliamentary meeting.

‘You cannot trust people who have such bad cuisine.’

Jacques Chirac, President of France, cracked a joke about the British to President Vladimir Putin in a 2005 conference. He also said the U.K.’s only contribution to European agriculture was “mad cow disease.”

‘I can’t stand him. He’s a liar.’

Nicolas sarkozy, the French President, revealed his true feelings about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a conversation with President Barack Obama in 2011. “You’re tired of him–what about me?” Obama replied. “I have to deal with him every day.”

‘What’s he doing up there? … He’s a jackass.’

Barack obama reflected on Kanye West’s interruption of singer Taylor Swift at the MTV Movie Awards during downtime for a CNBC interview in 2009, which was later leaked. Obama stood by his words. “He is a jackass,” he said in 2012. “But he’s talented.”

‘What they need to do is get Syria to get Hizballah to stop doing this sh-t.’

George W. Bush gave a blunt assessment of how the U.N. should deal with a crisis in Lebanon to British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2006. He also seemingly greeted him with, “Yo, Blair.”

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Write to Julia Zorthian at