"Body Politics" New "Handshake Battle" between Trump and Macron
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French President Macron has received his US counterpart Trump. On a marginal aspect, the meetings of the two are always very carefully considered: Who prevails when shaking hands?
DOnald Trump is notorious for his aggressive handshake, the British newspaper Guardian once wrote of the US President's "Handshake Battle." In French President Emmanuel Macron Trump could have found his master. Meeting with Trump at the Élysée Palace on Saturday in Paris, the Frenchman formally crushed the hand of his overseas visitor, as seen in photos. Ironically, Macron's fingers clutch Trump's hand, which wrinkles under pressure. Trump has his fingers outstretched, as if he would like to let go.
It is not the first "handshake battle" between the two presidents – and not the first point for Macron in this unofficial domination contest. At the G-7 summit in Canada last June, Macron squeezed Trump's hand so that the Frenchman's white thumbprint could be seen in the American's hand. And already at the first meeting of the two presidents in May 2017 in Brussels, the spectacular handshakes were the topic.
The Washington Post wrote, "The two men shook hands for six long seconds. Their knuckles turned white, their jaws tightened and their faces tensed. Trump attacked first, but then tried to let go twice. "The Frenchman had held on and signaled that the American was not the only alpha man in the room. The Guardian declared Macron the winner in this handshake battle.
New form of "body politics"
Six seconds shaking hands? That was just the beginning. When Macron Trump arrived in Paris in July 2017, the men shook hands for almost 30 seconds while walking with their wives on the Champs-Élysées. The US channel CNN examined the handshake in a second analysis and saw Macron, Trump at an advantage. Macron even held Trump's hand tightly, as he greeted Brigitte Macron with kisses and shook her hand – the left one was necessarily held, the right the host finally stopped. "Threefold handshake," commented CNN. "Holy crap."
In April of this year, Macron was on state visit to the White House. A kiss on the cheek was followed by a handshake, which the US broadcaster NBC estimated at about five seconds (a winner was not called). The two men hugged each other, patted their backs and held hands. "There was just so much touch," the Washington Post wondered. NBC saw in it a new form of "body politics" and certified the US president: "Trump gives diplomacy with Macron a personal 'touch'."
Also on Saturday at the Élysée Palace, there was more body contact than just a handshake, Macron grabbed Trump's knee and elbow. As physical as in April in the White House but at least the public part of the meeting was not. Perhaps Macron was irritated by a Tweet Trumps, with the Americans criticized his host shortly after landing in Paris. Maybe the relationship has also cooled a bit because of Trump's various attacks against the EU.
To German Chancellor Angela Merkel Trump's relationship has always been cool. When Merkel was in the White House in March last year, he gave her a hand in greeting. In the Oval Office, the ill-tempered US president ignored requests from the photographers to shake hands with Merkel for the cameras – and he did not even answer the Chancellor when she asked him, "Do you want a handshake?"
On Saturday, the Americans in the Élysée Palace at least came to a small revenge for the French hand crunches, although certainly not intended: Trump's armored company car parked so unhappy in front of the headquarters of Macrons that the vehicle exhaust fumes blew into the entrance area. The place directly in front of the entrance stairs is actually no parking, not even for cars of state guests. Staff at the Élysée Palace finally closed the door.