‘Bare-chested riding parade’: G7 leaders mock Putin

World leaders mocked Russian President Vladimir Putin’s tough-man image at a G7 lunch in Germany on Sunday, joking about whether they should strip down to their shirt sleeves – or even less.

“Jackets? Jackets removed? Do we take off our coats? asked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he sat at the table at the picturesque Elmau Castle in Bavaria, where Chancellor Olaf Scholz was hosting the summit of seven powerful democracies.

Leaders – from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union – pondered the dilemma.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested waiting for the official photo before undressing, but Johnson then joked, “We have to show we’re tougher than Putin” and the joke continued.

“We’re going to have the shirtless horseback riding show,” Trudeau said, referring to Putin’s infamous 2009 photo shoot of himself riding shirtless.

“Horse riding is the best,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, apparently without addressing the issue of clothing itself.

Johnson chimed in, “We need to show them our pecs.”

Leaders posed – jackets on – for photos before reporters were ejected from the room, leaving the clothing debate behind closed doors.

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Clyde P. Johnson