"Part of the answer to the question [of why we evacuated the stadium in Hanover before the Germany-Netherlands friendly] would make the public feel unsafe," de Maizière told journalists at a press conference on Tuesday night.
But as many social media users quickly pointed out, leaving the public hanging was liable to have much the same effect.
Inevitably, the Interior Minister became the subject of ribaldry and guffawing across social networks, with #DoItLikeDeMaiziere trending on Twitter throughout Wednesday morning.
"How do you think I'm doing as Interior Minister?" de Maizière asks Merkel.
"Part of my answer would unsettle you," Merkel responds.
"Darling, do you still love me?"
"Part of my answer would only unsettle you. That's why I'm not saying anything."
"Wie sieht eigentlich dein Kontostand so aus?" "Dazu sage ich nichts. Ein Teil der Antwort würde Sie nur verunsichern." #DoItLikeDeMaiziere— ♣◆Lisa♠♥ (@snowxwhite__) November 17, 2015
"How's your bank account balance looking?"
"I won't say anything about that. Part of the answer would only unsettle you."
"Is winter coming? Part of the answer would only unsettle you."
Sohn (6) fragt: "Gibt es den Weihnachtsmann wirklich?" I do it like.. #DoItLikeDeMaiziere— Internet-Ikone a.D. (@sersso) November 18, 2015
"My six-year-old son asks 'Does Santa really exist? I #DoItLilkeDeMaiziere"
Luke: "Du hast meinen Vater getötet!" Darth Vader: "Ein Teil meiner Antwort würde dich verunsichern." #DoItLikeDeMaiziere— Markus Engelhardt (@frei_los) November 17, 2015
"Luke: You killed my father!"
"Darth Vader: Part of my answer would unsettle you."
"Wurde die WM in Deutschland gekauft?" "Dazu sage ich nichts. Ein Teil meiner Antwort würde Sie nur verunsichern." #DoItLikeDeMaiziere— Cedric Kastner (@nurtext) November 17, 2015
"Was the World Cup in Germany paid for?"
"I won't say anything about that. Part of my answer would only unsettle you."
Es wäre nicht dieses großartige, krause, wilde, subversive Netz, wenn nicht sofort so etwas Tolles wie #DoItLikeDeMaiziere entstünde.— S. David (@meta_blum) November 17, 2015
"It wouldn't be the fantastic, wild, subversive net if something as brilliant as #DoItLikeDeMaiziere didn't show up immediately"