The now-removed tweet read: “Classy as always China,” and included a link to a New York Times article about a tense situation between President Obama and Chinese officials when Air Force One landed in China. The WSJ doesn’t provide the link to the NYT, but it was probably this one: “Confrontations Flare as Obama’s Traveling Party Reaches China.”
The New York Times describes the situation in China:
As the reporters who traveled to the Group of 20 summit meeting with President Obama from Hawaii piled out and walked under the wing to record his arrival, we were abruptly met by a line of bright blue tape, held taut by security guards. In six years of covering the White House, I had never seen a foreign host prevent the news media from watching Mr. Obama disembark.
When a White House staff member protested to a Chinese security official that this was not normal protocol, the official shouted, “This is our country.”
In another departure from protocol, there was no rolling staircase for Mr. Obama to descend in view of the television cameras. Instead, he emerged from a door in the belly of the plane that he usually uses only on high-security trips, like those to Afghanistan.
It’s not clear why the DIA deleted its tweet, and snarky commentary is not the usual fare it posts on the social media service.
Late the agency tweeted out an apology.
Earlier today, a tweet regarding a news article was mistakenly posted from this account & does not represent the views of DIA. We apologize.
— DIA (@DefenseIntel) September 4, 2016
According to the U.S. press pool, the situation seemed quite serious.
“Pool was brought under the wing of AF1 per usual but the scene was not per usual. There were no stairs to the top door to AF1, instead President Obama exited via the lower level stairs so pool could hardly see him, and only for a split second,” she wrote.
“A member of the Chinese delegation was screaming at White House staff from the moment pool got onto the tarmac. He wanted [the] US press to leave,” the pool account said.
The pool report said that “at one point, a White House official told him this was our president and our plane and the press wasn’t moving. The man yelled, ‘’his is our country.’ He yelled at another White House official and got testy with [White House national-security officials] Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes, seeming to try to block them from walking closer to the arrival scene after they lifted the blue rope and walked to the other side of it, nearer to POTUS.”
The New York Times also reports that Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes were blocked from joining the president by Chinese officials.
“This is our arrangement,” a Chinese official explained to his American counterpart, according to a pool report.
“Your arrangement keeps changing,” the American replied.
President Obama downplayed the conflict: “I wouldn’t over-crank the significance of it,” he said.
It seems like the least China deserves is a snarky Twitter burn after this kind of disrespect.