French President Emmanuel Macron’s “white-knuckled” handshake with President Donald Trump might have been a factor in his decision to bail from the Paris climate deal, according to White House aides.
“Macron was quoted in a French journal talking about his white-knuckled handshake with Trump at their first meeting … where the newly elected French president gripped Trump’s hand tightly and would not let go for six long seconds in a show of alpha-male fortitude,” sources told The Washington Post Friday.
“Hearing smack-talk from the Frenchman 31 years his junior irritated and bewildered Trump,” the source said.
The source referred to comments that Macron told a French magazine in May that his handshake was not a typical one. “My handshake with him, it’s not innocent,” Macron told the magazine.
Macron likened his U.S. counterpart to an authoritarian strongman. The French president was purposefully forceful, the aide said, because “he believed his encounter with Trump was ‘a moment of truth.'”
The French president was curt when Trump called him to explain his decision to leave the non-binding climate accord. Macron told Trump that France will keep open lines of communication with Washington, D.C., but the country will no longer discuss climate issues with the U.S., a French source told Reuters.
He referred to Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the non-binding climate deal, which seeks to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas levels many scientists believe contribute to man-made global warming.
“The president spoke with President Trump in a five-minute phone call. The exchange was direct,” the source said about the conversation, adding that “nothing [in the deal] was renegotiable.”
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