During the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Manila, attending world leaders were invited on stage for the conference’s customary group handshake, in which the heads of state cross their arms and join hands with their counterparts. President Donald Trump had more than a little trouble pulling off a traditional multi-leader handshake.
The Associated Press reported that “the announcer’s instructions briefly baffled Trump” — a struggle that was also made abundantly clear in photos and footage of the moment.
After Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte motioned for Trump to step forward, the president made his first mistake, offering the wrong hand to Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, who was on his right.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) November 13, 2017
Trump’s difficulties were laid bare on his face, which at one point twisted into what can only be described as a grimace. (Even The New York Times‘ Mark Lander, who initially described Trump’s facial expression as an enthusiastic smile in a pool report, felt compelled to send out a second report explaining that it was actually “more of an exaggerated grimace.”)
Trump’s awkward handshakes with world leaders have captured internet attention since he took office. He’s become known for his signature “yank and pull” handshake, which first made headlines after his meeting with Shinzo Abe of Japan in February.
Not long after that, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greeted Trump with a combined shake-and-shoulder-grab in an apparent effort to outmaneuver the president.
This should be banned https://t.co/6jB0WBmHon
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) November 13, 2017
The best photos are on BuzzFeed. The grownups had no problem smiling and clasping hands. https://t.co/L56CxAn107
— Mary Baker (@SolidWords) November 13, 2017
good luck to whoever has three weeks to get this regional production of Mamma Mia! into shape pic.twitter.com/eCZ81VxbMi
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) November 13, 2017
This is what peak performance looks like pic.twitter.com/BiH7gUMk9C
— j.r. hennessy (@jrhennessy) November 13, 2017