President Trump attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Manila in the Philippines on Sunday, which brings together leaders from throughout Asia to discuss security and economic issues. The summit’s opening ceremony traditionally kicks off with a unique crossed-arms handshake, linking the respective heads of state, and to the surprise of no one, Trump was as usual his awkward self, as photos from the event (such as the one above snapped by New York Times photographer Doug Mills) began circulating online.
Fox and Friends was quick to jump to the president’s defense on Monday morning however, accusing the media of having it out for Trump, as Ainsley Earhardt started off by saying, “It’s no secret that the New York Times has not been very friendly to the president or this administration.”
Earhardt then pointed to the video of the handshake as evidence that the handshake was not as awkward as the photos suggest. “Well when you watch the video and see the photo it’s obvious what they’re doing,” she said. “They’re trying to portray him as being awkward as we just said, and they want to portray him in that light.”
Steve Doocy then pointed out that the Washington Post reported that Mills in particular may have used the photo as revenge for the White House restricting press access on the trip, although the outlet even admitted, “Trump’s awkward grimace reveals the messy reality of high stakes geopolitics that an airbrushed official portrait of the ‘family’ would gloss over. Photos like these can help remind us that there are different motivations and different levels of comfort on the world stage behind the scenes.”
MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin likewise concurred by tweeting that Trump’s expression was “more of an exaggerated grimace than a smile,” yet Brian Kilmeade ultimately attributed the awkwardness to Trump’s height, rather than any deeper inclinations.