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Macron Says Tense Handshake With Trump Was a 'Moment of Truth'

'One must show that you won’t make small concessions, even symbolic ones, but also not over-publicize things, either'

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In this May 25, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron
In this May 25, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron Credit: AP

French President Emmanuel Macron says his now famous white-knuckle handshake showdown with U.S. counterpart Donald Trump was “a moment of truth” — designed to show that he’s no pushover.

Macron told a Sunday newspaper in France that “my handshake with him, it wasn’t innocent.”

Credit: AP

Macron added: “One must show that you won’t make small concessions, even symbolic ones, but also not over-publicize things, either.”

Macron’s office confirmed to The Associated Press the veracity of the president’s comments in Le Journal du Dimanche.

At their first meeting, ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, the two men locked hands for so long that knuckles started turning white. The French leader held the shake for a few seconds more. Both men’s jaws seemed to clench.

Another incident, in which Macron appeared to swerve away from Trump to hug Merkel instead, also raised eyebrows:

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