‘Knuckles turning white’: Macron is a match for the Trump power handshake

Of President Trump’s many idiosyncrasies, one that stands out is his aggressive style of shaking hands, which he has bestowed upon various world leaders since taking office. He may have finally met his match, however, during an encounter with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Trump and the newly elected Macron met in Brussels before a NATO summit and held the customary photo op, complete with an intense handshake.

A pool reporter in the room described the rendezvous with appropriate fervor.

“They shook hands for an extended period of time. Each president gripped the other’s hand with considerable intensity, their knuckles turning white and their jaws clenching and faces tightening.”

Slideshow: Trump caught on camera – awkward moments at NATO summit >>>

Macron, 39, the youngest president in French history, appears to have done his homework on the brash billionaire’s handshakes. Indeed, in footage of the moment, Macron holds his own, maintaining eye contact throughout the awkward encounter. (Before the French election earlier this month, Trump signaled support for Macron’s opponent, far-right populist Marine Le Pen.)

Trump’s handshakes have become an event to watch in and of themselves as he makes the rounds meeting world leaders. Perhaps none was more bizarre than the protracted handshake with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who looked eager to regain his personal space.


Later on Thursday, Trump will have dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, giving him an opportunity to redeem himself after a previous handshake snub.

Update: Macron won the handshake battle, but he may have lost the handshake war. Later on Thursday, at the new NATO headquarters, Trump unleashed a handshake that forced Macron to use his remaining arm just to stay afloat.

President Trump shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron before a working lunch before a NATO summit in Brussels May 25. (Peter Dejong/Pool via Reuters)

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