Trump's 2018 State Of The Union, As Told By His Awkward Handshakes

ByMonica Busch

Among the oddities that Trump has become known for since he threw himself into the political sphere, his handshakes with other politicians and heads of state have consistently captured the public's attention. Sometimes too long, often too forceful, and occasionally entirely rejected, it seems that they never disappoint. At his inaugural State of the Union (SOTU) address, this legacy continued. Before he even got to the microphone, photos of Trump's awkward SOTU handshakes took off across social media.

The president's habit of overzealously shaking hands with other dignitaries has launched a thousand think-pieces. Among the most famous examples are his handshake with French president Emmanuel Macron, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (That last one lasted a whopping 19 seconds.) It's not entirely clear whether Trump executes these handshakes intentionally, or whether he actually has no idea how strange they appear.

As for the SOTU, shaking hands on the way into the congressional chamber is not unusual — in fact, it's tradition. Presidents on their way to address a joint session of congress always stop to pay homage to the lawmakers there to listen. But as traditional as it is, Trump managed to make it look like an exercise in uncomfortable touching. Here are some of the best (or worst) moments.

Hyper-Alpha Handshake

From the moment he entered the chamber, Trump began enthusiastically clasping people's hands.

Shaking Hands With A Frenemy?

Trump and Sen. Dick Durbin have publicly clashed in the last several weeks, yet the two put on smiling faces as Trump approached the dais. Interestingly, Sen. Durbin is accompanied by a Dreamer as part of a concerted effort to draw attention to DACA.

And With Paul Ryan

Another politician who has maintained a less than jovial relationship with Trump smiles for the camera as he takes the stage.

Swing And Miss

After the speech, Trump skirted one congressman's attempt to shake his hand.

Gorsuch Recoils

A certain Supreme Court Justice appeared less than eager to be caught on camera with the president.

More Paul Ryan

As rumors swirl that Ryan might soon leave Congress, some wondered whether this was the last time the Speaker of the House would have to welcome Trump to a SOTU.

Prolonged Eye Contact

Trump holds eye contact with a member of Congress.

A Strange Hand Flick

When motioning toward Paul Ryan, Trump flicked his hand at the Speaker like he was trying to get his attention.

No one can blame Trump for stopping to acknowledge the lawmakers that support him. However, his method raises a lot of questions.