White knuckle hand­shake giv­ing way to Trump, Macron bro­mance

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

A mus­cu­lar hand­shake that turned their knuck­les white seems to be giv­ing way to a bud­ding friend­ship be­tween Don­ald Trump and Em­manuel Macron.

The un­ex­pected bro­mance be­tween the lead­ers of Amer­ica and France was on full dis­play for the world Fri­day at the an­nual Bastille Day mil­i­tary pa­rade and cel­e­bra­tion in Paris. This year the event co­in­cided with the 100th an­niver­sary of the U.S. en­try into World War I.

Trump spent a large por­tion of his day and a half in the French cap­i­tal in the em­brace of Macron, who went to ex­tra­or­di­nary lengths to im­press the U.S. pres­i­dent by turn­ing a day of na­tional pride into a cel­e­bra­tion of Amer­i­can pa­tri­o­tism and friend­ship be­tween the two coun­tries.

Trump and Macron ex­changed many hand­shakes dur­ing the course of Trump’s first visit to France as pres­i­dent, per­haps none more telling than the one they shared af­ter the pa­rade. As Trump pre­pared to head home to the United States, the lead­ers clasped hands and held on to each other as they walked. Trump at one point pulled the smaller Macron off bal­ance and held fast as they ap­proached their wives. Even then, Trump held on to Macron’s hand as he shook hands with Macron’s wife, Brigitte.

They ap­peared to have moved be­yond that tense in­tro­duc­tion in May, when a white-knuckle hand­shake that Macron later said was meant to show he’s no pushover was widely in­ter­preted as a sign of the fraught re­la­tions to come. Trump’s brand of “Amer­ica First” pol­i­tics had un­set­tled some Euro­pean al­lies.

But the body lan­guage in Paris this week sug­gested their re­la­tion­ship has moved to a new level. Both seemed to min­i­mize dif­fer­ences in or­der to fo­cus on ar­eas where they can work to­gether, such as the cri­sis in Syria and Mideast se­cu­rity.

Macron, in clos­ing the pa­rade, pub­licly thanked the U.S. for com­ing to France’s aid dur­ing the war, say­ing “noth­ing will ever sep­a­rate us.”

“The pres­ence at my side of the pres­i­dent of the United States, Mr. Don­ald Trump, and of his wife, is the sign of a friend­ship across the ages,” Macron said. Trump made no re­marks at the con­clu­sion of the pa­rade, but he re­turned the kind­ness in a state­ment re­leased as Air Force One flew back to the U.S.

AP PHOTO

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron, left, shakes hands with U.S Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as First Lady Me­la­nia Trump looks on af­ter the Bastille Day mil­i­tary pa­rade on the Champs El­y­sees av­enue in Paris Fri­day.

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