Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet for the first time at the G20 summit in Hamburg pic.twitter.com/LQmSKkWQks
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 7, 2017
Years after Donald Trump expressed his not-so-secret wish that Vladimir Putin would “become my new best friend,” the two finally came face-to-face at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. This meeting, of course, also follows a few decades of an apparently mutual obsession between Trump and Russia, along with U.S. intelligence’s consensus that Russia interfered with the U.S. election in an attempt to ensure a Trump victory. So, how did this much anticipated handshake go?
Well, the exchange was fairly awkward as the above Sky News clip reveals. Both men knew that the entire globe was watching, and while Putin has become increasingly defiant on the subject of hacking, Trump recently used part of his Poland speech to (falsely) claim that “nobody really knows” whether Russia did the election hacking. So, it’s not surprising to see some remarkably uncomfortable body language between the two men, and they did not go in for a close handshake, that’s for certain. Instead, they maintained a healthy (?) distance while Trump clumsily patted Putin’s elbow a few times.
On Friday afternoon, the two world leaders will hold a closed-door meeting that will be attended by a few close Trump associates, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Trump tweeted that he has “much to discuss” with Putin.
There’s a longer version of the video (with some other world leader greetings) at the Bundesregierung Facebook page. And later on at the summit, the two did a “take two” handshake (via MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin), which was uneventful at best and very unlike Trump’s usual “alpha” approach to the ritual.