Despite his strongman handshake stunts, Donald Trump is weak where it counts.
Donald Trump completed his visit with French President Emmanuel Macron with yet another embarrassment: a bizarrely extended and sometimes-three-way handshake.
Macron and his wife, Brigitte, were saying their farewells to Trump and his wife, Melania. Macron extended his hand to Trump and Trump took it.
And then didn’t let it go for over 28 seconds:
Watch President Trump and French President Macron's marathon handshake before they parted ways in Paris. pic.twitter.com/J2ugAQBoTk
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 14, 2017
About eight seconds in, Trump appears to have adjusted his grip on Macron’s hand, shifting from a traditional handshake into more of an arm-wrestling grip.
When Macron’s wife approached the pair, Trump, still holding Macron’s hand, then kissed Brigitte and reached for her hand. At their first meeting, Trump leered at Brigitte — commenting on her physical appearance to both her and her husband — and she can be seen placing a distancing hand on his arm as he reaches for her during the farewell.
Trump maintained his grip on both Macron and his wife’s hands for another full five seconds.
Trump and Macron have handshake history. At their very first face-to-face meeting, the White House press pool described their handshake accordingly:
Each president gripped the other’s hand with considerable intensity, their knuckles turning white and their jaws clenching and faces tightening.
However, despite his strongman persona and physical tests, Trump has proven to be quite a pushover where it counts. When it comes to his policy stances, Trump has a pattern of often embracing the position of the person with whom he last spoke.
His tendency toward being impressionable apparently carried into his visit to Paris. After his meeting with Macron, Trump hinted during the following press conference about a possible shift on his previously inflexible stance on working with international partners to address climate change.
Like most bullies, Trump talks a tough game but backs down when confronted. In the case of addressing climate change, this might be to the world’s advantage.