President Trump has a habit of engaging in some pretty intense handshakes. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

In February, we wrote about President Trump's “intense” handshakes. President Trump has a habit of sharing awkward, intense and sometimes downright strange handshakes with world leaders and U.S. officials.

And this week, we have several more handshake incidents to add to the list. Not only did Trump share what The Washington Post's Philip Rucker called a “fierce” handshake. Rucker writes:

As President Trump met French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time, welcoming him to lunch Thursday at the residence here of the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, the two men shook hands for six long seconds. Their knuckles turned white, their jaws clenched and their faces tightened. Trump reached in first, but then he tried to release, twice, but Macron kept his grip until letting go.

And that isn't all: Eagle-eyed viewers were quick to spot two separate moments during Trump's first foreign trip when First Lady Melania Trump seemed eager to avoid her husband's hands.

President Trump landed in Italy May 23 with first lady Melania, where an awkward attempt at hand-holding went viral. (The Washington Post)

Our original post from February is below.

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. We've spotted it now in handshakes with Vice President Mike Pence (on election night) and with Judge Neil Gorsuch (on the night Trump nominated Gorsuch to the Supreme Court).


This afternoon, he did it again, with Abe.

Trump even took time out to compliment Abe's "strong hands" – or maybe he was just referencing his own.

But Trump doesn't always tug on the hands of those he's greeting. When Kanye West visited Trump Tower in December, the two dapped like old friends.


While it's admittedly a small thing, little glimpses into Trump's thinking can give us an idea of how he handles these situations. But let's be honest – we already knew Trump likes to be in control.