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