PARIS — First, they shared an awkward handshake. Then, President Donald Trump complimented Brigitte Macron’s “physical shape.”
“You’re in such good shape. She’s in such good physical shape. Beautiful,” Trump told the French president’s wife, who was standing next to first lady Melania Trump.
Earlier in the day, at the welcome ceremony in Paris, Trump and French first lady Brigitte Macron extended their hands to one another — fumbling to make contact for a handshake — before they embraced for a traditional kiss on the cheek. Afterward, they rejoined hands while they continued to talk.
It’s not the first awkward greeting between Trump and a Macron. In May, Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron shared a long, tense handshake during their first meeting in Brussels. The French leader later said his white-knuckled grip had a deeper meaning.
“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.”
Trump’s handshakes have become signature moments in his interactions with world leaders. While Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the White House in February, Trump shook his hand for 19 seconds, even patting it several times and pulling it closer.
A month later, Trump apparently declined to shake German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hand during an Oval Office meeting, though he shook it at other times in her visit to Washington.