Video: Obama slammed for slipping off wedding ring before meeting crowd in Argentina
THIS is the moment President Barack Obama slips his wedding ring into his pocket as he meets and greets a group of Argentinian youngsters he appears to be worried might rob him.
The US leader was all smiles as he visited an arts centre in Buenos Aires with his bodyguards in tow during his official visit to the south American country.
But the cameras captured a scene he would probably have preferred to keep private - the moment he takes a valuable ring thought to be his wedding band off his finger and put it into his trouser pocket during a round of handshakes.
He makes the move as one of his bodyguards approaches him from the left, sparking suggestions he received a gentle whisper in the ear from his security staff.
The unusual scene was filmed as Obama visited an electrical power plant-turned-arts venue in the Buenos Aires suburb of La Boca where Maradona’s boyhood football team of the same name plays.
Former Buenos Aires senator Alberto de Fazio, a supporter of defeated presidential candidate Daniel Scioli, posted footage of the Obama ring incident on his Twitter alongside a searing attack on the US president.
He told followers: “Obama, very sophisticated and inspiring, but I’ll hide my ring in case they steal it.”
The post was picked up by several Argentinian papers today, who assumed the ring was his wedding band from wife Michelle.
Obama is understood to have taken off his ring as he finished his speech before the meet and greet session.
The footage was seized upon by critics of the US leader, who this week declared a fresh era of partnership between the States and Argentina after criticising former Argentinian president Cristina Kirchner as anti-American.
One Twitter user said: “The real trust Obama feels for Argetinians. He hides his ring in his pocket so they don’t steal it from him while he meets and greets them.”
Another added: “Did you see how Obama took his ring off before he shook hands? He thinks we’re a bunch of thieves.”
Maria Laura Balaguer wrote on a social media site: “He can’t be serious. What a terrible thing to do.”
Barack Obama’s official visit to Argentina this week was the first by an American president in two decades.
He arrived in Buenos Aires late on Tuesday night from Cuba.
The US leader and his family returned to the States early on Friday.