French President Emmanuel Macron Explains His Handshake With Donald Trump: ‘It’s Not Innocent’

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Since he was elected, Donald Trump has treated the world with several instances of his bizarre handshaking technique — or lack thereof. Last week’s NATO meeting in Brussels was no different as the President and newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron really went at each other (in handshake form).

A reporter for the Washington Post was in the room and described the handshake as even more dramatic than what shows up in the footage.

“The two men shook hands for six long seconds. Their knuckles turned white, their jaws clenched and their faces tightened. Trump reached in first, but then he tried to release, twice, but Macron kept his grip until letting go.”

Sunday, in an interview with a French newspaper, Macron talked about the white-knuckle one-on-one handshake the two shared. Macron sees avoiding Trump’s tug-and-pull style of shaking as an opportunity to stand up to him. “My handshake with him, it’s not innocent,” Macron said. “It’s not the alpha and the omega of politics, but a moment of truth.” He added: “One must show that we won’t make little concessions, even symbolic ones.”

Throughout the campaign and so far during his presidency, Trump has attempted to show dominance and literal strength, most often during handshakes with other leaders. So Macron, like Justin Trudeau, was able to get one over on Trump this time.

Macron then spent part of the next day lambasting Russian propaganda at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Their handshake was not as notable as the one he shared with Trump.

(Via Twitter Moments & BBC)