The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Melania Trump seems to swat away her husband’s hand on the Tel Aviv tarmac

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive in Tel Aviv. They are flanked by Israel’s president and prime minister and their spouses. (Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

If public appearances by a president and first lady are political theater, first lady Melania Trump and her husband, President Trump, miiight want to work on their choreography.

A brief moment caught on camera during the first couple’s arrival at the Tel Aviv airport appears to show the president reaching behind him for his wife’s hand — and she seemingly swatting it away. Or maybe, upon close inspection of the footage, perhaps she just missed grabbing his outstretched hand, like a trapeze artist flubbing the catch.

Rebuffed, POTUS smooths his tie.

The couple’s efforts at hand-holding have long fascinated White House watchers. (“Donald Trump ‘avoids holding Melania’s hand in public because he wants to look like a presidential alpha,’ says body language expert,” was the headline of a Daily Mail story from February.) Others tagged videos of the botched attempt at hand-holding with the hashtag #FreeMelania.

This latest bit of awkwardness, even if it was just a meaningless goof, is likely to just give such narratives, uh, legs.