When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the White House back in March, she and President Donald Trump didn’t shake hands. And it was suuuuuuper awkward.
Don’t believe me? Just watch.
The lack of a handshake – particularly given Trump’s handshake history – was taken as a sign of the tensions between the two leaders. As CNN’s Julia Manchester wrote at the time:
“The tense moment between the American and German leaders comes after Trump repeatedly bashed Merkel on the campaign trail and accused her of ‘ruining Germany,’ citing the nation’s policies allowing refugees into the nation.”
All of which made Thursday’s meeting between Trump and Merkel ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany all the more anticipated. Would they shake hands? Would they not? If they did, would it be awkward?
Let’s cut to the chase. It happened. And the picture it produced was epic.
It’s amazing, right?
Both Merkel and Trump look stunned that they are having their picture taken while shaking hands. They also both have an “am-I-doing-this-right” look mixed with a “when-is-the-soonest-possible-moment-in-time-this-can-be-over” look on their faces.
Other pictures taken of the moment suggest it was a bit more mundane with both leaders just happy to have successfully executed the handshake and survived it.
By all accounts, the handshake went smoothly.
“There was no signs of that [March] awkwardness on Thursday, as Trump offered Merkel a firm handshake, warm body-language and a smile before the two disappeared into a meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany,” wrote the New York Post’s Ruth Brown of the grip and grin. MSNBC’s Jesse Rodriguez tweeted of the moment: “Merkel extended her hand first and then Trump shook it.”
So, the first Merkel-Trump photo above is rightly understood as a snapshot in time – literally. But what a snapshot!