While at the NATO Summit last week, Donald Trump made a lot of headlines, and few of them were positive. One notable and symbolic moment came when he shook hands with France’s new president Emmanuel Macron. Macron was one of the few world leaders who bested Trump’s handshake power struggle and in an interview with a French paper, he told the world why.
For Trump, everything seems to be about a power struggle, which was perhaps best demonstrated when he pushed Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic so Trump could be at the head of the line in a NATO photo shoot.
Markovic was forgiving, calling it “inoffensive” and that “it is natural that the president of the United States is in the front row.”
Macron wasn’t so generous. After watching several now infamous handshakes — ranging from awkward to just weird — between Trump and other politicians, Macron knew that the moment was symbolic. He made a stand for France, and that stand was that France would not be backing down to Trump’s bully agenda.
Here it is:
Mr Macron told Le Journal du Dimanche, a Sunday newspaper in France: “my handshake with him, it wasn’t innocent.”
The new French leader added: “One must show that you won’t make small concessions, even symbolic ones, but also not over-publicise things, either.”
Trump has a thing about long and weird handshakes. When standing, he pulls his victim into him, sometimes almost knocking them on their feet. When sitting, his handshakes are needlessly long, with Trump appearing to see it as a competition as to who can hold out the longest. In February, Trump held a handshake with Japans leader Shinzo Abe for a full 19 seconds. Most handshakes are over in about three. Macron was determined, even after his knuckles began turning white, that he would be the victor. He also showed the world that he would not be backing down to Trump’s right-wing agenda, just as he didn’t pack down to political opposition Marine Le Pen’s right-wing agenda in last month’s election.
Featured image via ABC News screen capture.