A German regional leader sparked a backlash after admitting in a chat app that he played Candy Crush on his cellphone during online pandemic response meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Bodo Ramelow, head of the state of East Thuringia, gave the confession on the weekend during what he believed to be a closed meeting in the audio chat room app Clubhouse, which was only available by invitation.
The politician of the die-hard party Die Linke said that during the meetings, which often lasted hours, “some people play Sudoku, others play chess or Scrabble on their phones and I play Candy Crush,” according to German media reports.
He reportedly referred to the Chancellor as “Merkelchen”, a diminution that means “little Merkel”.
In response to criticism online and in the media, Ramelow apologized for the Merkel bow and thought on Twitter that “lowering the Chancellor’s name was an act of male ignorance”.
At a press conference in Berlin on Monday, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert quipped that the revelation “speaks for itself and requires no further comment”.
Armin Laschet, the head of Merkel’s conservative CDU party, said he did not play any games at the pandemic conferences “because the issues are very, very important”.
“We are discussing fundamental encroachments on fundamental rights … in schools, in education, in business, and you have to be specifically involved,” he told reporters in Berlin on Monday.
Thuringia’s Interior Minister Georg Maier from the Social Democrats told the RND broadcaster that Ramelow should “rethink his behavior”.
Ramelow and other prime ministers pushed hard against Merkel’s proposals for a tougher lockdown at a crucial pandemic meeting in October – weeks before an explosion of new coronavirus cases.
Ramelow has since expressed regret and admitted that the Chancellor was right to press for tougher measures.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)