Perhaps no hands in history have been covered as extensively as Donald Trump’s.
Thirty years ago, Spy Magazine co-editor Graydon Carter kicked off the extremity coverage when he joked Trump is a “short-fingered vulgarian”—an insult that prompted Trump to send Carter several pictures of himself with his hand circled in gold Sharpee. “See, not so short!” Trump reportedly wrote next to his hands.
The “tiny hands” coverage continued in 2016, when everyone from Marco Rubio to John Oliver taunted Trump’s hands. Trump himself once brought up the issue at a GOP debate. “Are they small hands?” he demanded, holding up his palms to the audience.
As president, the focus on Trump’s hands has morphed from a focus on their size to his wife’s lack of desire to hold them. But in the world of diplomacy, it’s the president’s hyper-alpha handshake—which generally lasts several seconds and often includes a dramatic tug-and-pat at the end—that’s made headlines.
Much has been made of Trump’s handshakes with various leaders, from his refusal to shake German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hand, to his 19-second long grip on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
In February, during his first meeting with the president, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau famously resisted the president’s alpha handshake twice in one day, at one point grasping Trump’s shoulder to stop him from employing his hand-yank move.
And on Thursday, yet another world leader managed to take on Trump’s “death grip.” Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron made headlines when he grasped the president’s hand so tight both their knuckles turned white.
“Je suis très heureux de pouvoir, ensemble, changer beaucoup de choses”, dit Macron aux côtés de Trump pic.twitter.com/7rQzMjGxBa
— BFMTV (@BFMTV) May 25, 2017
And that wasn’t the only notable handshake between Trump and Macron.
This is a pretty intense handshake between Macron and Trump pic.twitter.com/nseTdcpXkX
— Colin Jones (@colinjones) May 25, 2017
Macron’s alpha move lit up the Internet—read some of the best responses below:
Pool report poetry on the Macron-Trump handshake pic.twitter.com/veZH9bRG5h
— Danny Kemp (@dannyctkemp) May 25, 2017
Another angle on Trump-Macron handshakehttps://t.co/lUcGMGU6Sp
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) May 25, 2017
— hal (@halhod) May 25, 2017
Your president says “hmph…” when greeted with a firm handshake. https://t.co/sq4fYsN0kS
— Kazeem Famuyide (@RealLifeKaz) May 25, 2017
We have entered an era in which heads of state and government have to spend time strategizing how to win a handshake https://t.co/cMsPMMvQz6
— Doug Saunders (@DougSaunders) May 25, 2017
Male politicians’ “handshake battles” – they should just get out their cocks and fight like real men.
— Zoe Margolis (@girlonetrack) May 25, 2017
Handshake heard ’round the world.
— Alex Wayne (@aawayne) May 25, 2017
— Ari Phillips (@re_ari) May 25, 2017
It seems that every world leader has been practicing how to deal with the Trump “I will dominate you” handshake.
— Meredith Hindley (@CapitolClio) May 25, 2017
It’s not a truly manly handshake until blood spatters all over the walls. https://t.co/zGljOi1OG7
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) May 25, 2017
In 2004’s How to Get Rich: “Some business executives believe in a firm handshake. I believe in no handshake. It is a terrible practice.” https://t.co/iOse0sRgRZ
— Michael Kruse (@michaelkruse) May 25, 2017
@MiriamElder also this means trump is gonna be extra pully-inny on the next handshake huh
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) May 25, 2017
— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) May 25, 2017
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) May 25, 2017
a funny gag for the next head of state who meets Trump would be to wear a fake hand that pops off during the handshake
— Jorge Ribas (@jribas) May 25, 2017
Can you invoke Article 5 over a handshake?
— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) May 25, 2017
Macron plays the Trump handshake game well. Looks like POTUS wanted to disengage at one point but French president gripped tight https://t.co/V45Ko2vumE
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) May 25, 2017
Not afraid to admit I'm turned on by Prime Minister Dreamboat & President Heartthrob owning Trump at his own bullshit macho handshake game. pic.twitter.com/UIP4QN0YO8
— Cate Hall (@catehall) May 25, 2017