Footage showing Melania Trump’s reaction to an apparent order by her husband to smile as the pair have their photos taken has gone viral.
The US President and First Lady were touring Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington D.C. on Tuesday when they paused for a photo opportunity.
As the cameras start flashing, Mr Trump forces a grin before appearing to mouth to his wife: “Can you please smile?”
In response, Mrs Trump offers the briefest of grimaces before resuming her deadpan expression, with footage of the awkward exchange sending social media into meltdown.
In a tweet, CNN reporter Tancredi Palmeri called the cringe-worthy moment “the silent rebellion of Melania”.
The shrine visit began under a cloud after the United States’ most senior black Catholic bishop condemned the trip in a strongly worded statement.
“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree,” the Archbishop of Washington, Wilton D Gregory, said.
“Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth.
“He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”
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