You might recall that the last time Donald Trump met with suave French President Emmanuel Macron, the interaction was a little, well, awkward. Apparently aware of Trump’s affinity for the “power handshake,” Macron made a power move of his own and refused to let go before the Donald did. The result was the tensest 25 seconds of our lives.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 14, 2017
Cringe. Their time apart hasn’t been too cheery either. Macron had some harsh words for POTUS after the latter pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. He also very obviously shaded Trump with his new climate change initiative, cheekily naming it “Make Our Planet Great Again.” We see what you did there, Macron.
We all share the same responsibility: make our planet great again. pic.twitter.com/IIWmLEtmxj
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 1, 2017
There was a little bit of shared diplomacy earlier this month when Macron announced that France would back Trump’s decision to send missiles into Syria, but that didn’t prepare us for the two becoming downright buddies right before our very eyes this week.
Macron and his wife, Brigitte, are currently wrapping up a three-day trip to the White House and the two world leaders have been holding hands, grooming each other and unnecessarily touching one another. To be clear, we mean Macron and Trump, not Macron and his wife. The French president is in town to talk about some very serious issues like American presence in Syria (Macron wants it to continue but Trump wants to pull out) and the Iran Nuclear Deal (Trump wants to dismantle it, Macron and the rest of the world think that would be catastrophic) but those subjects have been overshadowed by the plethora of strange moments happening among the two First Couples.
Here’s a summary of all the very weird things you should be aware of.
The presidents are buddies now, but not like any buddies we’ve ever seen
If you’re close to someone, it’s natural to touch them casually when appropriate or grab their hand to lead them somewhere. It appears Trump and Macron have achieved this status (it’s unclear when this happened) but their level of comfort with one another seems to have surpassed what is appropriate for world leaders in the public eye. Political analysts, journalists and Twitter users alike have noted the numerous times that the two men – Donald in particular – clasped hands, touched each other’s backs and looked affectionately at one another.
From holding hands to long handshakes to brushing off dandruff.
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) April 24, 2018
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) April 25, 2018
Look if Trump has fallen in love with Macron I'm not going to blame him https://t.co/pTRX6K2Lq8
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) April 24, 2018
It should be noted that we as a society should definitely be encouraging men to express their emotions and affection for one another freely. Toxic displays of masculinity often prevent straight men from feeling comfortable being intimate with their friends. This display is a good thing. Well, sort of, because then things got strange. In a moment straight out of Veep, Trump apparently noticed a piece of dandruff on Macron’s shoulder and took the opportunity to brush it off and very publicly announce to the room of press what he was doing.
"We do have a very special relationship," Pres. Trump says, brushing a "little piece of dandruff" off French Pres. Macron's jacket.
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) April 24, 2018
A nice thing to do for a friend? Sure. A classic Donald Trump power move aimed at making himself look like the Alpha Male? Probably.
— Ashley Parker (@AshleyRParker) April 25, 2018
“When the aging gorilla is confronted with the much more virile, new alpha-male, he shows submissiveness by grooming the alpha-male, but the gesture is actually a vain attempt by the old gorilla to humiliate his much younger rival.”
— Jane Goodall
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) April 24, 2018
If SNL’s cold opening this weekend doesn’t feature Alec Baldwin wiping dandruff off Macron’s shoulder and talking about their “special” relationship, then why are we even here? 😳 pic.twitter.com/4i7s2NM8dZ
— Linda Childers (@lindachilders1) April 24, 2018
I do not believe for a second that the president of France had any dandruff on his lapel.
— Summer Brennan (@summerbrennan) April 25, 2018
With all this grooming, hand-holding and general congeniality going on, there was one relationship that certainly was not feeling “special” – Donald and Melania.
Melania was having none of her husband
Melania Trump seems to spend as little time with the president as possible. We’re not going to pretend to know what’s going on in their marriage, but let’s just say that what we see of it looks pretty rocky. Melania has been known to literally smack her husband’s hand away when he tries to grab hers. It makes for a funny meme but it’s also, in Donald Trump’s words, “sad.”
This week, FLOTUS continued to avoid any sort of physical contact with her husband in plain view of news cameras. Most notably, they did a strange little hand dance wherein he tried to grasp her hand while posing for photos and she made every attempt to subtly but firmly send the message that she did not want to do that.
Jaws (1975) pic.twitter.com/zkNU9eEXt9
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) April 24, 2018
Melania’s best swerve of all has to be planning her outfit to give herself a physical barrier between herself and her husband. That wide-brimmed white hat was instantly iconic for a number of reasons, but it doubled as Donald repellent, making any form of kissing impossible.
— Tolerance (@LivinMyTruth) April 24, 2018
Trump didn't kiss Melania but didn't have any issue kissing the French First Lady Brigitte Macron. pic.twitter.com/7mIdo7SNg6
— Red T Raccoon (@RedTRaccoon) April 24, 2018
It also got people buzzing about what such a fashion statement means. We know Melania watches Shonda Rhimes’ How to Get Away With Murder, could she perhaps have modeled her look after Olivia Pope’s white hat from Rhimes’ Scandal? Or perhaps it’s a tribute to the Queen? Not Queen Elizabeth obviously, Queen Bee. The hat’s shape is similar to that of the one Beyoncé wore in her “Formation” music video.
— Rose Sgueglia (@RoseSgueglia) April 24, 2018
getting some serious Beyoncé Formation vibes from Melania's hat this morning pic.twitter.com/9yp9X8isAt
— Niccole (@niccoleinDC) April 24, 2018
Macron addressed congress and made a great pun
It wasn’t an awkward moment, but puns are always worth covering. Wednesday, Macron addressed American congress and spoke about Syria, fake news, climate change and other global issues. He made a lot of points, but the ones that had the most impact were his comments about the planet. Summed up in one quote: “We are killing our planet. Let us face it: there is no Planet B.” The crowd goes wild.
Most people like it when you advocate for saving the planet. Everyone can get behind someone who advocates for saving the planet with puns.
French President Macron to Congress: "We are killing our planet. Let us face it: There is no Planet B.” pic.twitter.com/jxDSoGobmz
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 25, 2018
There are still a few hours left on this strange diplomatic visit and we can only imagine what the public farewell will look like. Plus Germany’s Angela Merkel is supposed to be stateside at the end of the week. No shortage of petty world leader drama there either.