Trump-Macron Handshake: White-Knuckled, Finger-Crushing Male Peacocking

It's well-documented at this point that President Donald Trump plays an odd game of dominance when he shakes hands—he contorts, jostles and pulls the person he's greeting to make sure he's in charge of the shake. But newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron seems to have studied the American president and was prepared for Trump's odd handshake tactics Thursday when the two met in Brussels.

While seated, Macron gripped Trump's hand very firmly, and by the end, the U.S. president's hand had seemingly gone limp. Trump looked more than ready for his counterpart to let go.

Reporters on the scene noticed. "The two presidents, each wearing dark suits and blue ties (Trump's was thick and royal blue; Macron's was skinny and navy) sat in antique cream-upholstered arm chairs, with two American and French flags behind them," wrote Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker in a pool report. "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."

Later, when a reporter posted to Twitter that Trump seemed to just want his hand back by the end of the shake, Rucker tweeted, "Yep. Trump tried twice to release and Macron held on tight."

Best thing about this is not the handshake itself but Macron acting like it's totally normal 👋🏼

— Miriam Elder (@MiriamElder) May 25, 2017

"Je suis très heureux de pouvoir, ensemble, changer beaucoup de choses", dit Macron aux côtés de Trump

— BFMTV (@BFMTV) May 25, 2017

If you're unfamiliar with Trump's handshake history, below is a video from CNN that shows how Trump often pulls his counterpart in or lingers for a very long time, as he did with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

But Trump took another loss Wednesday in the handshake game he created. Authoritarian Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon pulled Trump toward him when the two met, pre-empting any shenanigans from the U.S. president. Off-balance, Trump ended up in a firm greeting with Rahmon, who had the literal upper hand and shook hard.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was perhaps the first world leader to figure out how to counter Trump's odd handshake. Trudeau approached Trump with speed, grabbed his shoulder and got in close before the president had a change to tug at his arm.