Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladmir Putin for the first time on Friday, cordially shaking the former spy’s hand and giving the fellow leader a pat on the back before the pair’s official sit-down at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Hamburg, Germany.
The 71-year-old business mogul and the former KGB foreign intelligence officer, 64, came face-to-face in a closely watched encounter ahead of the summit’s meetings. Naturally, footage of the brief greeting has caught the attention of the Twittersphere.
“Trump and Putin ‘if you still don’t have a place to stay, remember, you have my room key,’ ” one person tweeted alongside a photo of the handshake, poking fun at Trump’s cozy talk of Putin and the alleged collusion with Russia for which the Trump team is now under investigation.
Another Twitter user wrote: “Finally Trump handshake and back rub with his buddy Putin.”
A few hours after their initial handshake on Friday, Putin and Trump met and shook hands again for their sit-down meeting. White House officials said the pair’s conversation “will be a normal bilateral meeting,” as opposed to a “pull-aside.”
Trump shook hands with Merkel as they geared up for the summit on Thursday, in a greeting that seemed to make up for the March incident in which he notably appeared to snub Merkel’s request for a handshake.
Trump tacked another awkward handshake onto the list that month when he met with Macron and the two locked hands for several seconds, with each man refusing to let go.
On Thursday, Trump had another strange handshake moment when First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda walked past him in an apparent snub to instead shake hands with her American counterpart, Melania Trump.
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have been high as the U.S. maintains sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea and investigates alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election — including the country’s alleged collusion with the Trump campaign.
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Thus, the meeting has caught the attention of many as world leaders gather for the two-day summit where they are expected to discuss global economic issues.
Keeping with tradition, the leaders posed for a group photo, in which German Chancellor Angela Merkel stood front and center. Meanwhile, Trump was tacked on to the right end, with only Macron on his outside.