On Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump formally welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte to the White House.
There was pomp. There was circumstance. And, as always in these formal settings, there was awkwardness.
This photo of the quartet, taken by Pablo Martinez of The Associated Press, captures that mix of happiness, awkwardness and formality nicely. I’ve studied the picture and have some thoughts. Starting from screen right….
1. It was nearly 60 degrees in Washington on Tuesday morning. Why does Trump have an overcoat on? Neither woman wore a coat. And Macron has on only his suit coat.
2. Trump’s face is saying, roughly, this: “Are we done yet?”
3. Macron’s hands. He appears to be doing the “Hook ‘em, Horns” /Kiss guitarist Gene Simmons hand signal. (Yes, there is a debate over who owns the index finger + pinky finger in the air sign. Because, of course.) Why? I wish I knew but man does it amp up the awkwardness.
4. Trump is dealing with the Macron hand game by grabbing the French President’s middle finger. (I think.) Also, that hand grab is not the only awkward handshake(?) that happened during the formal welcoming ceremony. Check out this one via CNN’s own Brenna Williams:
5. Meanwhile, on Macron’s other side, Melania seems to have solved the Macron hand challenge nicely. She appears to be grabbing his two unraised fingers, which is basically the definition of making lemonade out of lemons.
6. The look on Macron’s face? Let’s call it can-you-believe-I-am-doing-this-ridiculous-hand-move-with-the-First-Family face.
7. Melania is the happiest of the four. It’s probably because of her hat, which is amazing. Or maybe it’s because she is taller than Macron.
8. Brigitte Macron forgot the first lesson of getting your picture taken: ALWAYS stare down the photographer. NEVER look sideways.
9. The body language from Brigitte Macron screams, “I didn’t know we were doing the raised hands thing?? Did I miss a memo? Hello? Anyone?”