The 17 Most Uncomfortable Photos Of Trump Meeting With Foreign Leaders
It's no question that President Trump is commited to doing things his own way — he even danced to "My Way" by Frank Sinatra at his Inaugural ball in January. But this my-way-or-the-highway attitude has gotten him into some pretty tense situations with foreign leaders, solidifying his status as one of the most unorthodox Presidents in modern history. These photos of Trump meeting with foreign leaders are uncomfortable, strange, and a little bit awkward, to say the least, displaying just how Trump views his role in world affairs — and how the rest of the world may view him.
Trump is a big proponent of an aggressive "America first" policy, even at the expense of the agreements we have in place with other nations. This has caused some friction between Trump and other world leaders. For example, Trump's decision last week to withdraw from the Paris Accord, a landmark environmental pact that all but two other nations have signed, led to international condemnation, and his failure to commit to protecting other nations in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization raised more than a few eyebrows.
But a picture is worth a thousand words, and given that Trump just returned from his first big diplomatic trip abroad, we have plenty of photos that reveal a lot about America's current role in global affairs.
Here's a rundown of some of the most cringe-worthy.
1. Trump's Meeting With The Pope
Pope Francis traveled to the White House in May, and he did not look pleased. The pontiff donned a gloomy, somber expression in many of the official photos of the visit, and Twitter users were quick to speculate as to what this might mean.
2. Trump's Hand-Hold With Theresa May
British Prime Minister Theresa May was the first foreign leader to visit newly-elected Trump, back in January. Unfortunately, she was also the first to be caught in an awkard embrace with him.
Trump was photographed holding the Prime Minster's hand as he led her down the stairs, and some foreign officisals called the visual "disastrous" as it looked like Trump was taking control and "leading her along." May said that Trump was simply "being a gentleman," but the optics still make some people uncomfortable.
3. Trump's Handshake With Trudeau That Almost Didn't Happen
The facial expression says it all. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pretty much Trump's exact opposite on many key issues like feminism, environmental regulations, immigration, and... well, just about everything else. So it came as almost no surprise that Trudeau seemed to express some skepticism in accepting Trump's handshake. He eventually relented, but his hesitation will live on in internet infamy.
4. Trump's Handshake With Angela Merkel That Didn't Happen
Twitter was abuzz when Trump seemed to ignore the German Chancellor's request for a handshake, avoiding eye contact while she leaned forward to ask for his hand. Trump claimed that he didn't hear her, but I'm not sure people are convinced, especially given how much Trump really loves shaking hands...
5. Trump's Handshake With Shinzo Abe That Went On For Way Longer Than It Should Have
...Case in point, this bizarre encounter: the Japanese Prime Minister got a little more than he bargained for when he shook the President's hand for a photo-op during his White House visit. He appeared to be in physical pain, or maybe just shock, when Trump shook his hand for a solid 19 seconds.
6. The Time Trump Shoved The Prime Minister of Montenegro
The casual suit adjustment at the end is what really makes me cringe.
Trump apparently physically pushed a foreign leader out of the way to take center stage in a group photo at a NATO summit. The White House argues that the photo positions were preassigned and Trump was simply getting to his spot, but his aggressive demeanor didn't exactly go over well in the rest of the world.
7. Trump's Meeting With Russian Officials
As if all of these Russian collusion allegations couldn't get any worse for Trump, the President met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak at the White House in May. In the middle of a federal investigation into their involvement in the 2016 election. With no American journalists present. While Russian state-run media was allowed to bring cameras into the Oval Office.
Oh, and Trump may have given them classified information. Trump denies that any of this classifies as wrongdoing, but the photo looks pretty suspicious.
8. Trump Poses With This Glowing Orb Thing
9. Trump's Childlike Note At A Holocaust Museum
During the President's first big overseas trip, he visited Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial museum on the edge of Jerusalem. The note he left behind, however, seemed to suggest that he didn't quite grasp the devastation that occured there. "It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends, Trump wrote. "So amazing + will never forget!"
President Obama's note during his visit had a slightly different tone.
10. Trump's Handshake With The President Of Tajikistan
Trump's handshakes are pretty infamous at this point, and it seems that foreign leaders are now retaliating against their aggression. The President of Tajikistan seemed to pull Trump forward in a show of force during their meeting in May.
11. Trump's Agressive Comments At A NATO Summit
Many of Trump's comments in a speech about America's commitment to NATO left not only foreign leaders, but members of his own administration aghast.
Trump reportedly personally cut a portion of the speech that pledged commitment to honor Article 5 of the NATO alliance, an agreement that says member countries will protect each other if one country is attacked. His staff was blindsighted by the changes, and NATO leaders didn't seem too pleased either.
12. Trump's Interrupted Dinner With Shinzo Abe
While dining with the Japanese prime minister at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's private golf course, news broke that North Korea had just launched a test missile. The pair's decision to deal with the national security scenario in full view of restaurant diners and employees raised a lot of questions about guests' access to confidential information while visiting Trump's estate.
13. Trump's Bows (Or Curtsy?) To The Saudi King
In 2012, Trump relentlessly mocked Obama for bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia. But during his visit to the kingdom, Trump appeared to do the same. Social media was split as to whether Trump's actions actually constituted as a bow, or whether he was simply bending to receive the king's gift.
14. Trump's Bizarre Comment In Front Of Benjamin Netanyahu
Right after it leaked to the press that President Trump revealed classified information to the Russians that allegedly came from an Israeli spy, it was awkward enough that Trump had a scheduled public appearance with the Israeli Prime Minister. But Trump made things even worse when he publicly attacked the press for his own actions, and Netanyahu's facial expression at about the 38 second mark just about says it all.
"Just so you understand — I never mentioned the word or the name Israel in conversation. Never mentioned it," Trump said. No one had ever accused him of doing so.
15. Trump's Intense Handshake With Emmanuel Macron
In an apparent show of power, France's newly-elected President firmly grasped Trump's hand for a handshake during a meeting in Brussels — and refused to let go. The two leaders stared each other in the eye as their knuckled turned white until the uncomfortable handshake finally ended. According to Macron, it was a symbolic gesture.
16. Trump Gets Dissed By Emmanuel Macron
When Macron approached NATO leaders last week, he appeared to be walking straight towards Trump for a greeting before abruptly turning to German Chancellor Angela Merkel instead, just as Trump extended his hand. To be fair, who wouldn't want to avoid a handshake like the one above?
17. Trump's Second Aggressive Handshake With Emmanuel Macron
Welp. Apparently it can't be avoided. After greeting Merkel, Macron then turned to Trump and the men engaged in a handshake that was perhaps even more combative than the first. Trump jerked Macron forward, and Macron pushed Trump's arm away to end the forceful encounter.
Trump's inexperience in foreign policy and insistence on doing things his own way has already caused tension during his diplomatic forays. Given that Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord sends a strong message about his skepticism in cooperating with international agreements, we may see even more uncomfortable photos in the near future.