Turns Out, That Tense Macron-Trump Handshake ‘Wasn’t Innocent’ At All

“That’s how you ensure you are respected,” Macron explained. “You have to show you won’t make small concessions — not even symbolic ones.”

President Donald Trump shakes hand with people as if he is playing tug-of-war. He grabs the other person's hand and pulls it towards him with full force — it almost seems like he is trying to lug people's arms out of their sockets.

It is nearly impossible to shake off Trump once he decides to take hold of someone’s hand. While a few world leaders have fallen victim to this atrocity of a handshake, some have managed to come up on top of the game with vicious grips of their own.

French President Emmanuel Macron belongs to the latter category.

During their first meeting at the NATO summit in Brussels, Macron and Trump posed together for a photo. As is usual for leaders to do at such event, the newly elected French and the U.S. presidents shook hands with each other while smiling for the camera.

However, it was more than just a handshake. It was a bone-crunching standoff with clenched jaws, white knuckles and seemingly forced smiles, which prompted hilarious reactions from the rest of the world.


Turns out, it was not entirely innocent either.

“My handshake with him, it's not innocent,” Macron admitted during an interview with the Journal du Dimanche. “It's not the alpha and the omega of politics, but a moment of truth.”

The 39-year-old foreign leader, who has never held elected office before, did not let go of Trump’s hand even as his American counterpart tried to disengage — twice.

“Donald Trump, the Turkish president or the Russian president see relationships in terms of a balance of power,” the French president continued. “That doesn’t bother me. I don’t believe in diplomacy by public abuse, but in my bilateral dialogues I won’t let anything pass.”

Yes, it was not an accident. It was a well-thought political move.

“That’s how you ensure you are respected,” Macron added. “You have to show you won’t make small concessions, not even symbolic ones, but not to over-publicize it either.”

Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters

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