First lady Melania Trump tried mightily not to hold President Trump's hand during a White House appearance yesterday — the latest in a series of public hand-related rebuffs to be dissected on social media with the intensity that previously surrounded the Zapruder tape.
The incident happened when the president and first lady gathered on the White House lawn with French President Emmanuel Macron and first lady Brigitte Macron. Melania Trump stood next to her husband, who grazed her fingers with his hand once, to no response.
Then again, before the first lady finally allowed him to connect.
First Lady Melania Trump had another awkward hand-holding moment with husband Donald Trump as they welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte. pic.twitter.com/RyWEhi8uYE— People (@people) April 24, 2018
Twitter observers noted that the first lady was wearing a wide-brimmed hat that made it impossible for the president to kiss her when Macron and the French first lady smooched.
Similar drama unfolded during the president's first trip to the Middle East last May, when Melania Trump swatted his hand away on a Tel Aviv tarmac in full view of cameras. Another rejected clasp happened when the couple left the White House in February for a trip to Ohio.
“Trump tried to hold Melania’s hand and she is not having it, man,” said Stephen Colbert on the "Late Show" Tuesday night. “He’s like trying to arouse a dead trout.”
“You can’t blame her though. I mean, she watches '60 Minutes'. She knows where that hand has been.”
Melania Trump has been laying low in recent weeks, as reports built about Donald Trump's sexual encounters with porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, and the hush payments made to them by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.
The White House reported that she was heavily involved in the planning of Tuesday's state dinner in tribute to Macron, but it's unknown if that extended to the hand maneuvers.
Several reporters and TV commentators pointed out that Trump and Macron were unusually touchy-feely during their visit, which provided late-night hosts with even more fodder. "When President Emmanuel Macron greeted President Trump, he kissed Trump on both cheeks," said Conan O'Brien. "Then out of habit, Michael Cohen showed up and handed Macron $130,000."