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French President Emmanuel Macron Says His Now Infamous Handshake with Trump Was a ‘Moment of Truth’

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For French President Emmanuel Macron, his now infamous handshake with President Donald Trump was a bit of a power play to show the U.S. president that he means business.

“My handshake with him, it wasn’t innocent,” Macron recently told a French newspaper, according to the Associated Press, calling the incident “a moment of truth.”

The two leaders met in Belgium on Thursday, ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels. In front of a slew of cameras, the two locked hands for several seconds, with each man appearing to refuse to be the first to let go.

“One must show that you won’t make small concessions, even symbolic ones, but also not over-publicize things, either,” Macron said of the now viral moment.

Trump is no stranger to awkward handshakes, though.

Evan Vucci/AP

After the awkward handshake, Macron met with a slew of NATO leaders, including Trump during a summit.

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In an exchange captured on video, Macron is shown walking up towards Trump, only to swerve away from the president at the last second to greet Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

Trump looked eager and ready to shake Macron’s hand on the red carpet, and when he finally did greet the French president, Trump appeared to yank the leader’s arm in his now-signature style.