This 25-second handshake is absolutely insane. Trump is an insecure man-child.pic.twitter.com/WdPact4f0M
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) July 14, 2017
President Trump concluded his whirlwind French visit by attending Friday’s Bastille Day parade, and it wouldn’t have been a proper encounter with a foreign leader if Trump didn’t participate in some weird-ass handshakes. On Thursday, he mainly did so with French First Lady Brigette Macron, with whom he pulled a “shake and yank” maneuver before commenting upon the state of her “beautiful” physical shape. The long goodbye was equally unsettling, mainly for the intensity with which the final handshakes occurred. Watch above, as French President Emmanuel Macron and Trump (both) participated in a 25-second long grip that entered several phases, including some accompanying pats and other such aggressive gestures.
Trump then moved on to shaking both of Brigette’s hands with much enthusiasm while Melania stood by, but throughout, it was Emmanuel Macron’s willingness to be an equal aggressor to Trump that was notable. He appeared to be the one who was pressing their handshake to continue, and he’s already admitted that his previous white-knuckled grip with Trump (in May) was both purposeful and “not innocent.” And it seems, from the looks of Friday’s goodbye gestures, that President Macron was … messing with Trump?
If Macron intended to rattle Trump (and show that France wouldn’t make concessions), that makes sense. Trump is nothing if not one to boast about his own intimidating prowess, which he says will result in the best “deals” for the U.S. This has, so far, resulted in a barrage of skeevy hand-to-hand interactions with other leaders, including how he appeared to decline German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s request for an Oval Office handshake (possibly because of his open disgust for NATO at the time). A few other notable examples include Trump’s rather limp handshake with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which occurred months after he prompted Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to roll his eyes during the customary gesture.
Macron appears to want his Trump-shake to stand out above all others, and it’s working. Here’s a slightly different angle of the Paris goodbye in case you want to see this awkwardness go down again.