With Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump completes the trinity of awkward presidential handshakes

Source: AP
Source: AP

President Donald Trump greeted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House Monday to kick off Trudeau's official state visit — a meeting that commenced with a handshake, as is the customary pomp for western world leaders.

But this was no ordinary presidential handshake: This was one of Trump's signature handshakes. And like so many of his other signature products, his handshakes have been truly something to behold. 

It begins with Trump firmly squeezing Trudeau's hand outside the White House as the Canadian PM exits his vehicle. In what many speculated to be an attempt to assert his own dominance, Trudeau responds to Trump's handshake by placing his left hand on Trump's shoulder 

But it's no use: Even after Trudeau drops his left hand from Trump's shoulder and appears to attempt maneuvering his right hand free from the president's clutches, Trump's vice-like grip continued unabated. 

Trump and Trudeau then shook hands again during a photo op in the Oval Office, where photographers captured Trudeau looking trepidatiously at Trump's hand before shaking it.

Trump's handshakes with world leaders and other political figures have caused a stir since he was sworn in as the 45th president on Jan. 20.

Last week, Trump's handshake with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went viral, after he grasped Abe's hand for 19 seconds, yanked it toward himself and then gently tapped it; the handshake left Abe visibly uncomfortable. 

Trump's handshake with his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, also made news, after Trump forcefully yanked Gorsuch's hand toward him after announcing the nomination.

Body language experts say Trump's handshake style suggests the president is seeking to assert his "alpha male" status. 

Twitter users — now aware of Trump's aggressive handshake style — took to the social media platform to analyze the handshake with Trudeau.

Many pointed out that the initial shake was aggressive, with Trudeau looking to block Trump from asserting dominance:

Others joked that Trudeau — who differs with Trump on a number of issues, especially accepting refugees — didn't want to shake Trump's hand:

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Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

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