On Friday, Olaf Scholz reacted extremely sensitively to hecklers at the German Catholic Day. The climate activists reminded him of “a time long ago.” It is not the first time that the chancellor has shown nerves in public.

There was no sign of escalation. The mood at the discussion round with Olaf Scholz at the Catholic Day was neither heated nor had the chancellor had to listen to particularly harsh criticism from the ranks of the traffic light coalition in advance. At least she wasn’t any harder than usual.

And yet he suddenly lost his composure when a man in the audience called out his displeasure. Scholz had just explained how important it was to take the concerns of the miners seriously who would lose their jobs as a result of the energy transition. What the man then said can hardly be understood in the video, and Scholz didn’t even let him finish. Instead, he exclaimed, “These black-clad stagings at various events by the same people always remind me of a time long ago.” Then he added a “Thank God”. The hall applauded.

Dangerously much room for interpretation

With whom did Scholz just compare the climate activists? Does he actually equate them with National Socialists, as Luisa Neubauer claims on Twitter. Probably not. Because two sentences later, Scholz reports on his own experiences with demonstrators who storm discussions. He’s more likely alluding to the Antifa and K-groups. Nevertheless, the statement leaves a lot of room for interpretation. It is extremely unfortunate, like all of the Chancellor’s communications these days.

Once again, Olaf Scholz publicly shows nerves. It’s not the first time in his short tenure. In interviews and conversations he has appeared almost insulted several times when confronted with criticism.

Shortly after the outbreak of the Ukraine war, when some economists declared that a German energy boycott, contrary to claims by the federal government, was economically viable: “They got it wrong,” the chancellor snapped in a television interview. He considers it “irresponsible” that economists add up the effects of a gas supply stop in “some mathematical models.”

Scholz only needed a few sentences to deny the competence of experienced economists.

Olaf Scholz and the “boys and girls” from the traffic light

In mid-April, Scholz publicly displayed his thin skin for a second time. After being criticized for days by MPs from the traffic light coalition for not supplying heavy weapons to Ukraine, he lost his composure in a radio interview: “I have to say to some of these boys and girls: Because I don’t do what you want, so I lead.”

Apart from the fact that this statement stands for a dubious understanding of leadership (a good boss takes his employees with him and does not discredit them as boys and girls), it also makes it clear that Scholz apparently quickly loses control of his communication in stressful situations.

It was the same on Friday. But the statements have a new quality. They are not aimed at other politicians or scientists, but directly at potential voters.

The comparison described above did not stop there. Apparently spurred on by the audience’s applause, the chancellor added more sentences. He described the protest of the climate activists “as a practiced acting performance” whose goal was pure staging: “It’s an attempt to manipulate events for its own purposes,” explained Scholz. There is no interest in genuine discussion.

“Climate Chancellor” as an empty phrase

A few months ago, during the election campaign, Scholz described himself as the upcoming “climate chancellor”. Now the slogan seems like an empty phrase.

Because anyone who attests climate activists a “rehearsed attitude” denies them that they are seriously concerned about the future of the planet. Anyone who accuses climate activists of manipulating events for their own purposes does not seem to have understood that the consequences of climate change affect everyone.

Of course it is annoying and uncomfortable for Scholz to be disturbed by climate activists at various events. But a Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany must be able to endure that. He was not publicly insulted or disparaged, but criticized for content. It would have been more sovereign if he had listened to the man’s allegations and responded shortly afterwards.

Then his actions would not have contradicted what he himself had been preaching just minutes before. The moderator had asked him how great the risk he felt that German society would split. Scholz emphasized how important it is that “everyone in our society feels recognized and meant.” For him, the most depressing thing is when someone comes to the campaign stand and says: You’re not doing all this for me. Then he always answers: “Yes, that’s the whole reason for my political commitment.”

However, the concerns of the soot-smeared buddies seem to be more important to him than those of the climate activists dressed in black.