When it comes to international diplomacy, handshakes are a given symbol of cooperation even if the geopolitical agendas between world leaders don’t always agree. For President Trump, handshakes are a form of psychological warfare designed to belittle an opponent or a potential business partner, and it’s that kind of ego-driven tripe that makes awkward yet forgettable moments like this become internet gold for bloggers and meme makers.
This Thursday, Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, welcomed Trump and First Lady Melania to Warsaw. After a brief photo op, Trump and Andrzej Duda exchanged a handshake, after which Trump extended his hand to his wife, who ignored the gesture and made a b-line directly for Melania’s hand. She ultimately turned to Trump and shook his hand, but the Internet’s narrative had already been written.
— Billy Howell (@CoachBilly1) July 6, 2017
From TIME Magazine:
This handshake is one of several Trump has exchanged since he was inaugurated that has gone viral or been scrutinized. In addition to the incident with Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron’s knuckles famously turned white after he shook Trump’s hand at the G-7 meeting, which he later characterized as a “moment of truth.” The President’s handshakes with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Japanese Prime Shinzo Abe were also the subject of thorough handshake analyses on the internet.
Some blogs characterized the moment as purposeful on the part of Poland’s First Lady, but that’s clearly not the case. It was an unplanned and awkward exchange that wouldn’t be a meme if Trump weren’t Trump.
[This article has been updated] Featured image via screen grab