Lazy Saturday Reads: Shaking Hands With tRumpPosted: February 11, 2017
How can it only have been three weeks since the uncouth baby-man took over the U.S. government? I honestly don’t know how much more I can take. Reading the news has become a terrible experience that often leads to anxiety attacks. Just for today, I’m going to let the real news go and focus on tRump’s bizarre power handshakes. Yesterday’s tRump torture of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was a classic. The expression on Abe’s face when tRump finally lets go is hilarious.
And then there was the way he jerked SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch’s hand during the announcement ceremony.
He did the same thing to Vice President Mike Pence on election night.
It seems tRump needs to assert dominance in just about every interaction. People are beginning to take notice. The Washington Post’s Peter W. Stevenson writes: Donald Trump and the art of the super-awkward handshake.
We know President Trump is concerned with appearances – especially when he’s on television, or in front of news photographers or large crowds.
We also know that President Trump is concerned with hands – how large they are, how strong they are – just look at them!
Trump is also a well-known germaphobe. He initially shunned shaking hands with supporters on the campaign trail. As president, protocol compels him to shake a lot of hands, though.
And recently, he’s taken part in a few handshakes that we’ll just call “intense” for now – most recently, a bizarre moment with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday.
Whether it’s just habit, or a way of asserting his power, Trump has a habit of pulling forcefully on the hand he’s shaking.
What’s going on here? Quartz asked a body language expert about it: The power play behind Trump’s penchant for uncomfortably long handshakes. Here’s his analysis of the tRump-abe handshake:
“When you cover somebody’s hand, you’re portraying yourself as being closer than you really are. It’s for perception management,” says Joe Navarro, a body language expert based in Florida, and author of the book What Everybody is Saying. “The only time you should be tapping somebody’s hands is if you’re their grandmother, but certainly not between two grown adults.”
That would typically make people feel uncomfortable and invaded. “Because the back of your hand is your intimate zone,” says Navarro, comparing the experience of the hand-pat to the feeling you get when somebody stands too close to you. “You are entitled to touch the palm of their hand when you shake hands, but not the intimate zone.”
But Trump didn’t just pat the back of Abe’s hand, he yanked and pulled the prime minister toward himself in a signature move he’s been doing since his stint hosting The Apprentice. More recently, he’s used the move on Mitt Romney, Neil Gorsuch, Nancy Polosi, Rex Tillerson, and Mike Pence. Often, it turns a regular old handshake into a comical tug-of-war, with Trump twisting people’s arms into strange angles. It’s like playing “jiujitsu with your hand,” says Navarro. “All that it does is that it leaves a bad taste in your mouth and causes psychological discomfort.”
“Frankly, it’s rude,” he adds.
See more videos at the link.
It seems that tRump just doesn’t know how to behave in polite society. At The Slot, Gabrielle Bluestone noted that:
The handshake was also notable because Trump, who won the election based on his self-proclaimed instincts, misunderstood what the PM was trying to tell him.
“What are they saying?” Trump asked Abe about 20 seconds into the handshake, referring to photographers who were speaking Japanese.
“Please look at me,” the Prime Minister translated. Trump appeared to take the translation literally, and began to stare at the Prime Minister, refusing to break eye contact with him even when he used his other hand to point at the cameras, where Trump was supposed to be looking.
What a nimrod! I hate to think of the agonies Abe must be enduring at Mar-A-Lago this weekend. Trump supposedly cheats at golf too.
At The Telegraph, Guy Kelly and Charlotte Krol suggests that tRump may be overcompensating for something: Donald Trump’s alpha male body language tics – from the hand tap to the power shake.
It’s not for us to say whether Donald Trump is compensating for something. Yes, certain behaviour may give that impression: the erection of several self-branded towers, one of which is literally gold, for instance. Or the fact he felt the need to declare “there’s no problem” with the size of his manhood at a GOP debate last March. Or almost everything else he’s ever done.
That’s mere speculation. What’s clearer – and less of a legal migraine to write here – is to say that Trump is an ‘alpha male’. We needn’t look further than his body language to confirm it, either.
From bone-crushing handshakes to an almost allergic reaction to his wife, Trump is at pains to use power plays to underline his masculinity with every public appearance.
They note that tRump doesn’t seem to enjoy holding hands with his wife Melania.
On Saturday, Trump was seen at Palm Beach international airport with his wife, Melania, as they set off for a weekend away. When the First Lady had the temerity to reach for her husband’s hand on the tarmac, Trump squeezed it for one moment, gave it a bizarre three taps with his other hand, and then dropped it like a stone.
Because, as we all know, holding hands with your wife – or waiting for your wife before walking off – is the sort of beta male nonsense only weak men like Barack Obama would lower themselves to. Hand holding, it seems, only suits the president when he initiates it.
There’s more analysis and more videos at the link. Here’s the one of tRump’s rude treatment of Melania at the Inauguration.
Spin Magazine says that tRump just “doesn’t know how to shake a person’s hand.”
Even the quotidian act of shaking hands has proven to be a Herculean task for Donald Trump, the leader of the free world. The Oval Office hosted a meeting between the POTUS and Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe and, as per usual, things turned tragicomic. The two hands grasped each other for a bleak 20 seconds, where Trump had the same look of confusion of a dog popping a squat and Abe—bless his diplomatic heart—could only muster up the enthusiasm of an embarrassed father….
Get this: Trump is 70 years old. Even Abe can’t seem to hide his shock that this is a grown man.
And it’s only been three weeks!
I’m going to end with more famous historical handshakes between foreign leaders to go with the one of President John F. Kennedy and Nikita Krushchev at the top of the post.
That’s all I have for you today–sorry this post isn’t more substantive. I’ll leave it to you to post links to the important news in the comment thread. Have a relaxing weekend.