Where is Olaf Scholz? Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) shook his head with a welcome tweet to the G7 summit. His explanation doesn’t make it any better.

Some call it so, others so. Markus Söder says: “The Chancellor is not a foreign state guest, but the Chancellor.” So far, so right – and yet so questionable. But one by one.

Bavaria’s Prime Minister produced a little Schmonzette at the weekend. On Saturday, the CSU leader welcomed the participants of the G7 summit in Elmau, Bavaria, via Twitter: “The world is a guest in Bavaria,” wrote Söder with obvious pride between each line, “we welcome the most important heads of state in the world.” The welcome tweet was garnished with a photo collage of the summit participants and a cheerful “Grüß Gott in Bayern!”

Accordingly, US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida were allowed to feel welcomed. Only one apparently not: Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the (actual) host of the top meeting, who could not be found in the photo.

Strictly speaking, Söder’s tweet raises even more questions

A rogue who recognizes a calculated taunt behind it – that’s how Söder now wants it to be understood. Scholz is the host, Söder explained on Sunday on ZDF. “The chancellor isn’t a foreign state guest, he’s the chancellor. And Bavaria definitely still belongs to Germany. That’s how it should stay,” he joked. Allegations that he has forgotten the chancellor or does not count him among the most important heads of state and government are far-fetched.

So Söder takes it very seriously. Which doesn’t necessarily help his defense.

Because if Söder really only wanted to welcome the “heads of state” with his tweet, Johnson, Trudeau, Draghi and Kishida shouldn’t appear in the picture either – who, strictly speaking, are the heads of government and not heads of state or heads of state in their countries. After all: From this point of view, Scholz rightly does not appear in the photo, since the head of state in Germany is Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

In retrospect, there was talk of “foreign state guests” – two heads were even missing from the photo. In addition to Scholz, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel were not represented on the welcome picture. Although both are neither heads of state or government, they are taking part in the meeting as the highest representatives of the European Union.

“Bad style”, the former CDU General Secretary Ruprecht Polenz criticized Söder’s welcome tweet in the comment column. “I only count 6,” commented Green veteran Jürgen Trittin. Natascha Kohnen, former SPD state chairman in Bavaria, became clear: “That’s poor and level,” she wrote about the picture. “You shouldn’t sink that low.”

Some call it so, others so.