PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
00:51
Internet reacts to Melania's hand gesture
PHOTO: ABC News
Now playing
02:30
Melania Trump speaks out in candid interview
Melania Trump phone advice sot vpx_00010312.jpg
PHOTO: CNN
Melania Trump phone advice sot vpx_00010312.jpg
Now playing
01:05
Melania jokes: I've told him to put phone down
PHOTO: ABC
Now playing
01:53
Melania dismisses media reports: 'We are fine'
melania trump
PHOTO: ABC
melania trump
Now playing
01:47
Melania discusses husband's immigration policies
PHOTO: ABC News
Now playing
01:14
Melania: Accusers need evidence of sex assault
U.S. first lady Melania Trump takes a safari in Nairobi, Kenya, October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
PHOTO: Carlo Allegri/Reuters
U.S. first lady Melania Trump takes a safari in Nairobi, Kenya, October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Now playing
00:29
Melania responds to hat controversy
PHOTO: Reuters
Now playing
00:31
Melania Trump gets bumped by elephant
Now playing
00:59
Melania Trump: Kavanaugh is highly qualified
US First Lady Melania Trump announces her "Be Best" children's initiative in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, May 7, 2018. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: JIM WATSON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
US First Lady Melania Trump announces her "Be Best" children's initiative in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, May 7, 2018. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:15
Melania continues work against cyberbullying
Viktor Knavs and Amalija Knavs, parents of US first lady Melania Trump, arrive at the White House with the first family on June 11, 2017 in Washington, DC.
PHOTO: Pool/Getty Images
Viktor Knavs and Amalija Knavs, parents of US first lady Melania Trump, arrive at the White House with the first family on June 11, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
00:42
Melania Trump's parents become US citizens
First lady Melania Trump arrives to board a plane at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Thursday, June 21, 2018, to travel to Texas to visit the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
PHOTO: Andrew Harnik/AP
First lady Melania Trump arrives to board a plane at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Thursday, June 21, 2018, to travel to Texas to visit the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Now playing
01:49
Melania dons jacket saying 'I really don't care. Do U?'
Melania Trump visits detention center in Texas
PHOTO: POOL
Melania Trump visits detention center in Texas
Now playing
01:07
Melania Trump makes surprise visit to border
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 13: U.S. First Lady Melania Trump plays bowls she meets British military veterans known as "Chelsea Pensioners" at Royal Hospital Chelsea on July 13, 2018 in London, England. America's First Lady visited the Chelsea Pensioners while her husband, President Donald Trump, held bi-lateral talks with Theresa May at the Prime Minister's Country Residence.  The Chelsea Pensioners are British Army personnel who are cared for at at the Services retirement home at The Royal Hospital in London. (Photo by Luca Bruno - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Luca Bruno/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 13: U.S. First Lady Melania Trump plays bowls she meets British military veterans known as "Chelsea Pensioners" at Royal Hospital Chelsea on July 13, 2018 in London, England. America's First Lady visited the Chelsea Pensioners while her husband, President Donald Trump, held bi-lateral talks with Theresa May at the Prime Minister's Country Residence. The Chelsea Pensioners are British Army personnel who are cared for at at the Services retirement home at The Royal Hospital in London. (Photo by Luca Bruno - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:38
Melania says a lot with very few words
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 5: (AFP OUT) First Lady Melania Trump attends a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House  March 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. The prime minister is on an official visit to the US until the end of the week. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 5: (AFP OUT) First Lady Melania Trump attends a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House March 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. The prime minister is on an official visit to the US until the end of the week. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:59
Melania Trump weighs in on immigration
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 07:  U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrives in the Rose Garden to speak at the White House May 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump outlined her new initiatives, known as the Be Best program, as first lady during the event.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Win McNamee/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 07: U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrives in the Rose Garden to speak at the White House May 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump outlined her new initiatives, known as the Be Best program, as first lady during the event. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:12
First lady returns home after hospital stay

Story highlights

Michael D'Antonio: Viral videos of Melania and Donald Trump from trip abroad have many speculating they are locked in war of signals and symbols

With a long record of public disrespect from her husband, Melania's rebuffs of Trump seems to indicate that she is not happy, D'Antonio writes

Editor’s Note: Michael D’Antonio is the author of the book “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success” (St. Martin’s Press). The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN) —  

They are the flick and the grab viewed ‘round the world.

Arriving in Rome, on his way to visit the Holy Father, of all people, President Donald Trump stood at the door of Air Force One and reached for first lady Melania Trump’s hand. She avoided his grasp, reaching up to brush her hair away from her eyes instead. He then appeared to put his hand – wait for it – on her behind.

The internet caught fire with commentary about Trump’s move, which, if it wasn’t what it seemed to be, was recklessly close to a crude display of male ownership. It might have gone unnoticed, or at least less noticed, had the Trumps not been the subjects of a similar episode two days earlier at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport. As the couple walked away from Air Force One, the President strode ahead of his wife (a display of marital disconnection so familiar to us all by now that it could be a fun cue for a drinking game).

03:14 - Source: CNN
DOD releases scathing review of former White House physician
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16:  Physician to U.S. President Donald Trump Dr. Ronny Jackson listens during the daily White House press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Dr. Jackson discussed the details of President TrumpÕs physical check-up from last week.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: Physician to U.S. President Donald Trump Dr. Ronny Jackson listens during the daily White House press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Dr. Jackson discussed the details of President TrumpÕs physical check-up from last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:14
DOD releases scathing review of former White House physician
PHOTO: CNN/Getty
Now playing
02:10
'Highly misleading at best': Dale reacts to Pence's op-ed
PHOTO: Gov. Cuomo's office
Now playing
03:35
Gov. Andrew Cuomo addresses women's allegations
Commanding General District of Columbia National Guard Major General William J. Walker testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs/Rules and Administration hearing to examine the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol on Capitol Hill on March 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Nash / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Commanding General District of Columbia National Guard Major General William J. Walker testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs/Rules and Administration hearing to examine the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol on Capitol Hill on March 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Nash / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
03:01
DC National Guard commander: 'Unusual' Pentagon restrictions slowed response to Capitol riot
Supporters of President Donald Trump hold up their phones with messages referring to the QAnon conspiracy theory at a campaign rally at Las Vegas Convention Center on February 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
PHOTO: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Supporters of President Donald Trump hold up their phones with messages referring to the QAnon conspiracy theory at a campaign rally at Las Vegas Convention Center on February 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Now playing
03:00
Hear why QAnon supporters believe Trump will be president on March 4th
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the January 6th insurrection, in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 2, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the January 6th insurrection, in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 2, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:55
Watch FBI director debunk conspiracy theories pushed by Trump supporters
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: Neera Tanden, nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Budget Committee on February 10, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Tanden helped found the Center for American Progress, a policy research and advocacy organization and has held senior advisory positions in Democratic politics since the Clinton administration. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: Neera Tanden, nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Budget Committee on February 10, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Tanden helped found the Center for American Progress, a policy research and advocacy organization and has held senior advisory positions in Democratic politics since the Clinton administration. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:33
Neera Tanden releases statement on pulling her nomination
PHOTO: KCAL/KCBS
Now playing
01:41
Multiple people killed in crash after SUV and semitruck collide
nigeria kidnapped schoolgirls released Busari pkg intl ldn vpx_00000423.png
nigeria kidnapped schoolgirls released Busari pkg intl ldn vpx_00000423.png
Now playing
02:09
Tears of joy and relief as 279 Nigerian schoolgirls return home
New satellite images taken by Maxar show that North Korea sometime in the past year built a structure that may be intended to obscure entrances to an underground facility where nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons components are stored.
PHOTO: Courtesy Maxar
New satellite images taken by Maxar show that North Korea sometime in the past year built a structure that may be intended to obscure entrances to an underground facility where nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons components are stored.
Now playing
01:47
See images US intelligence claims is a secret weapons site
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. The Governor said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 bar and restaurant alcohol licenses for violations of social distancing rules as public officials try to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. The Governor said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 bar and restaurant alcohol licenses for violations of social distancing rules as public officials try to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:29
NYT: Third woman comes forward against Gov. Andrew Cuomo
PHOTO: Courtesy Penguin Random House
Now playing
01:00
These 6 Dr. Seuss books won't be published anymore
John King Magic Wall 0301
PHOTO: CNN
John King Magic Wall 0301
Now playing
03:00
US coronavirus numbers coming down, but not enough
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2011 file photo, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Saud Al-Mojeb, Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor, is recommending the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. Al-Mojeb told a press conference in Riyadh Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018,  that Khashoggi's killers had been planning the operation since September 29, three days before he was killed inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)
PHOTO: Virginia Mayo/AP
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2011 file photo, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Saud Al-Mojeb, Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor, is recommending the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. Al-Mojeb told a press conference in Riyadh Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, that Khashoggi's killers had been planning the operation since September 29, three days before he was killed inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)
Now playing
02:52
3 names mysteriously removed from Khashoggi Intel report
Protesters take cover behind homemade shields as tear gas is fired during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on March 1, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: STR/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Protesters take cover behind homemade shields as tear gas is fired during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on March 1, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:16
Footage shows tear gas, flash bangs used on protesters in Myanmar
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)
PHOTO: Seth Wenig/Pool/AP
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)
Now playing
01:12
Gov. Andrew Cuomo responds to allegations of sexual harassment

On Sunday, though, the President seemed to think better of it, and as his host, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, grasped his own spouse’s hand, Trump reached back for Melania. She rebuffed him with a flick of her wrist, never breaking her stride.