The science of handshake diplomacy has become quite popular in Internet journalism, but we here at Paste like to think we invented—and perhaps perfected—the entire genre. From Justin Trudeau to Emmanuel Macron, from Neil Gorsuch to Shinzo Abe to Mike Pence to Angela Merkel, we have been on the scene, reliable and insightful, bringing you the analysis you need.
But today…today is a day of disappointment. Win or lose, Trump has always delivered great, aggressive handshake battles, complete with high drama. Coming into his highly anticipated handshake match-up with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg, many thought we were about to witness one of the greatest clashes of all time.
Instead, we got this:
The highly anticipated official handshake between President Trump & President Putin!"It's an honor to be with you" ????????pic.twitter.com/uacbdEc7CD— Corryn ???????? (@Corrynmb) July 7, 2017
What the hell? No pull-and-tug? No prolonged squeeze? No crazy grimace as he tries to wrestle the life out of the opposing hand?
Nope—all he did was place his hand out submissively, palm up, and let Putin totally own him. I hate to accuse anybody of collusion, but was the fix in? A lot of people had money on a Trump victory, and perhaps a high-roller connected with the Vegas mob used some sort of kompromat to coerce the president into tanking. There was also this:
NEW: First greeting between Trump & Putin at G20 – handshake & pat on the back, via German govt. pic.twitter.com/C5H14eYvYj— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) July 7, 2017
I mean, that was maybe slightly less submissive, but still falls way short of what we’ve come to expect from Trump. Are we witnessing one of the greats wearing out at his peak? Did the Macron defeat ruin him psychologically? Did Putin’s reputation as a judo master intimidate him into submission? Will he ever fulfill the potential he showed against light-weights like Abe and Gorsuch against the game’s biggest stars?
Only time will tell, but today is a low, low day for Trump fans across the world.