Like a shark, French President Emmanuel Macron has closed in on his prey during a group photo at the G20 meeting in Hamburg.
After the world leaders assembled on a three-tiered riser for a class photo, the young French president could be seen pushing through the crowd to stand next to Donald Trump.
Protocol states that the most recently elected leaders must stand furthest from the host member in the middle – in this case Angela Merkel – yet Macron appeared to take this as an opportunity to zone in on Trump like a cruise missile. Not only did he stand by the US President, but reached out and grabbed him, before cornering him afterwards.
This came after an apparently awkward handshake between the leaders. According to reports, before the photo shoot Macron came over as Trump was talking to Merkel. The two men proceeded to engage in an aggressive "tug-of-war"-style handshake, in which Trump was able to pull Macron's hand towards his chest "in more of a hand clasp".
Mr Macron’s public interactions with the American president have been picked apart by internet commenters since they first met at a NATO summit meeting in Brussels in May. Apparently aware of Mr Trump’s famed handshake style — he often pulls the other individual’s hand toward his body — Mr Macron held firm with his American counterpart, and forced the interaction to last longer than strictly speaking necessary.
“My handshake with him wasn’t innocent,” he told the media afterward. “It wasn’t the Alpha and the Omega of politics, but a moment of truth.”
In the video of the meeting, the two men seems to be clenching their jaws during a vigorous, white-knuckled handshake. Mr Macron held firm until Mr Trump pulled away first.
Macron explained why he decided to take Trump on in such a way. “We must show that we won’t make small concessions, even symbolic ones, but not to over publicise it either,” he said. “I don’t believe in the diplomacy of public invectives but in my bilateral talks, I don’t let anything pass, it’s how one gets respected.”
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