But on Tuesday, as the first couple crossed the South Lawn of the White House to board Marine One, Trump managed to get a grip on his wife’s hand — and it may have been his tightest one yet.
The president appeared to be grasping his wife’s whole hand firmly, with no sign of interlocking fingers.
The first couple departed Tuesday for a trip to Europe, where the president is expected to visit the United Kingdom, attend the NATO summit in Brussels, and meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
Trump watchers have kept a close eye on the first couple’s public displays of affection, especially after the first lady was caught on camera clearly swatting away her husband’s hand during a trip to Tel Aviv, Israel in May of last year.
More recently, in February, Trump once again tried but failed to make hand-to-hand contact with his wife as they departed the White House for a trip to Ohio.
And in April, the first lady again appeared reluctant to hold her husband’s hand — despite his best efforts — as they welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, to the White House for the Trump administration’s first state visit.
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The first couple did hold hands during a Fourth of July picnic for military families at the White House last week, but even then, some Twitter observers believed it was just for show.
One tweeter commented that Trump seemed to be “grabbing onto Melania’s hand, to keep her from pulling it away, rather than just gently holding it!”
Another said it was just “another pathetic photo trying to show they care about one another.”