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Trump Is An Awkward Giver Of Handshakes

President Donald Trump is in Asia this week to participate in the gathering of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and things went a little cross, to say the least.

At the official opening ceremonies, the Asian heads of state are tasked to do a traditional cross-body handshake to signify their unity in going after their sustainable development goals.

Trump, standing between Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, appeared a little baffled when after the usual pageantry, the announcer then said they reached the part of the program where the world leaders would take part in the “traditional” ASEAN handshake, according to a report on the New York Daily News site.  

It’s a cross-body exercise, during which each leader extends their right arm over their left and shakes the opposite hands of those next to him.

The announcer’s instructions apparently briefly baffled Trump, who at first simply crossed his hands in front of him.

But he then seemed to be a good sport about it when he finally got the hang of the handshake, but appeared to be in a small measure of difficulty as he had to bend down a little to accommodate the handshakes of the shorter heads of state on either side of him.


While this was a culture shock for Trump, who is on a five-day trip through several Asian nations in light of the ASEAN, the report notes that a strong, nearly aggressive handshake has somewhat become a trademark of sorts when Trump in previous meetings with other world leaders in the West.

It noted that it seemed to be his way at establishing dominance or setting the tone for a meeting.

He is known to often pull the other person toward him and then giving pats or yanks.

NY Daily News listed the time Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron engaged in a white-knuckle handshake, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s short-circuiting the US President’s usual attempt at dominance, using his left arm to hold onto to Trump to prevent being pulled toward him, and most recently; he pulled Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s hand toward him and then held onto it for a long time, earning an eye-roll from Abe as Trump looked away.

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