Credit: Thierry Chesnot / Stringer / Getty

At this point, any Trump handshake will be something of an event, at least for the sort of people who look for any opportunity to make fun of him. During the G20 summit, for example, the mere fact that he made a funny face while taking a photo with Angela Merkel was turned into fodder for online ridicule, when in reality it was just the sort of mid-photo-shoot face that anyone could end up making in a flash. Thus there was a lot of attention being paid in advance of Trump’s latest visit to France, wherein French president Emmanuel Macron looked to heal some of the recent wounds between our countries. Would their farewell handshake be another non-event, something briefly enflaming anti-Trump Twitter circles and then fading?

No. It would not be.


This is Ali versus Frazier, Gandalf versus the Balrog, a multidimensional tussle that seems to drag on, consuming others in its orbit, the life power of each combatant waning and flaring as they focus all their force into their fists. It is a microcosm that seems to hold within it eternities. Nearby, one imagines pebbles quivering and beginning to rise off the ground, grass dying, birds lighting off for safer climes. Lasting a harrowing 25 seconds, the handshake encompasses many plot twists, from Macron’s leg kicking up to provide ballast, to his switch to an upward hand clasp, to the distinctly Trumpian power move of pulling in Macron’s wife, Brigitte, for a brief triple handshake. Trump ends the saga with his traditional patronizing off-hand pat, but the French first lady seems to absorb some of the peripheral energy of the affair, engaging in a new power-shake with Melania Trump, clasping her wrist like a misbehaving child.

It’s some powerful shit. Just yesterday, our walking trigger warning of a president aggressively focused attention on Briggite’s body; in their first meeting, Macron’s powerful alpha hands cucked the president for all the world to see. The exact winner of this shake is hard to determine—Macron seems determined to hang on no matter what, but Trump pulls out all of his tricks. At this rate, Michael Bay will be staging their handshakes in 2018, assuming all this machismo doesn’t wipe our species off the face of the earth before then.