When Donald Trump arrived in Paris for his first official visit to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Bastille Day celebrations, the media was fascinated whether their “sequel” handshake would be another white-knuckle affair of the “not too innocent” kind, as Macron described his famous first handshake with the US president. In retrospect, it was a bit of a letdown, perhaps because since then the two had several opportunities to work on their greetings and appeared both more at ease, although questions did emerge about Trump’s handshake with Brigitte Macron, which among other things, afforded Trump the opportunity to say the first lady was in “great shape.”
But if the introductory handshake was less than remarkable, nobody was ready for the most recent Trump-Macron poignee de mains, which the Independent described as a “strange, shifting, exruciating coming together that appeared to have a life of its own.”
Many who witnessed the handshake, as the men walked down the Champs-Élysées, said it looked bizarre, however it appeared anything but for the US President who was so at ease with his French host and the Bastille Day crowds, that the handshake lasted no less than 30 seconds.
Twelve seconds into the handshake – with both men on the move at this point – Trump put one hand on Macron’s chest and, a few moments later, placed his left arm on the shoulder of Ms Macron, while still holding on her husband with his right. Then Trump briefly takes the French First lady with both hands, while Macron keeps holding onto Mr Trump’s right hand as well. Finally, with the timer on 28 seconds, Mr Trump grips Mr Macron’s hand once more, taps his fingers and finally lets him go. A full half-minute of presidential flesh-pressing has taken place.
Meanwhile, it was difficult to decipher what Melania Trump made of this manual ménage à trois: she stoically watched and smiled a full 30 seconds before her husband and the Macrons appeared to realize she was there. Then they finally held hands with her too. Ultimately, the event was deemed sufficiently dramatic for CNN to create a “second-by-second” analysis of the Trump-Macron handshake.