Trump and Macron had an awkward, white-knuckled handshake — and the internet went nuts

President Donald Trump met Emmanuel Macron, the newly inaugurated French president, for the first time on Thursday, ahead of a NATO summit in Belgium.

After pictures and an amusing pool report surfaced, the internet had a field day scrutinizing their handshake.

The pool report noted both presidents’ “considerable intensity” and clenched jaws.

Their knuckles apparently went white during the tight grip, according to observers, and Trump, who is known for his intense handshakes, looked as though he wanted to disengage.

Check out photos of their interaction:


Initially, Trump and Macron seemed at ease when they shook hands in front of reporters and photographers in Belgium.

source
Thomson Reuters

Soon, however, “each president gripped the other’s hand with considerable intensity, their knuckles turning white and their jaws clenching and faces tightening,” a pool report said.

source
Thomson Reuters

“They shook hands for an extended period of time,” the report said, and Trump looked visibly uncomfortable.

source
Thomson Reuters

Trump tried to let go of Macron’s hand twice, while Macron held tight, reports said.

source
Thomson Reuters

The awkward interaction lit up Twitter. Sky News’ Mark Stone likened the handshake to a competition.

source
Twitter


“Battle of the handshakes: Macron beats Trump at his own gripping game during first meeting at Brussels NATO summit,” said one tweet.

source
Twitter


“Trump meets his handshake match in Emmanuel Macron,” another user said.

source
Twitter


“Best thing about this is not the handshake itself but Macron acting like it’s totally normal,” said Miriam Elder, a BuzzFeed editor.

source
Twitter


Other reporters also weighed in. “If relationships were defined by handshakes, then Trump & Macron’s is gonna be fierce,” tweeted Philip Rucker, The Washington Post’s White House bureau chief.

source
Twitter


Reuters called the interaction “a little handshake diplomacy.”

source
Twitter


Here’s the handshake in full:


The two leaders had a second intense handshake after remarks at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels.