We live in a world of the open social-media beef. Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift. Calvin Harris and Zayn Malik. Azealia Banks and everything.
Add to that list: the president and first lady.
Last weekend, President Trump began his Rainbow Tour of the Middle East, a nine-day trip which began in Saudi Arabia and today took him to Israel. It attracted rave reviews after Trump delivered a speech in Saudi Arabia that didn’t humiliate himself or the country.
Then came day two.
There was a controversial $110 billion arms deal. There was a strange encounter with a glowing orb. Then first lady Melania Trump appeared to slap away his outstretched hand when he offered it on a tarmac in Israel.
After deplaning in Tel Aviv, the president and first lady — who was walking slightly behind him — are striding down a red carpet. Trump holds out his hand behind him, Melania clips it away with the side of her hand, and Trump pulls it back, looking resigned.
The Twitter conversation was instantaneous. Some offered questionable excuses.
Internet’s going crazy over melania not wanting to hold Trump’s hand. But Israel was so hot today, the last thing you want is hand holding ? https://t.co/y0ONcqj7Oo
— Bar Tube (@bartubes) May 22, 2017
Some offered general commentary.
If Melania won’t take his hand, maybe the Wall will… https://t.co/iugE0QX12r
— J.-F. Claude, M.S.M. (@JFClaude) May 22, 2017
And of course, some proffered memes.
— Pwhammy (@Pwhammy2) May 22, 2017
Was the move payback for the long, bad date that was the inauguration, in which the president attracted criticism for not escorting the first lady from their car to the White House entrance, leaving her to trail behind? Or the much-scrutinized video of Trump saying something to Melania on the inauguration podium, causing her face to fall?
In any case, this will be the first presidential marriage in which historians will have to include memes in their scholarly texts.