PARIS, France — France’s new President Emmanuel Macron says he was ready for his “moment of truth” with US counterpart Donald Trump — when they shook hands for the first time.
“You have to show you won’t make little concessions, even symbolic ones,” Macron, 39, tells the French weekly Journal du Dimanche on Sunday.
Footage of the handshake as the pair met for lunch at the US embassy in Brussels ahead of a NATO summit on Thursday has gone viral.
As cameras roll, Macron holds on tight to Trump’s notorious power grip as the two men sit next to each other, the Frenchman’s mouth clenched and eyes firmly fixed at the 70-year-old tycoon’s squinty stare.
After some five seconds, Trump is the first to open his hand but Macron insists on being the last to let go.
“It’s not the be-all-and-end-all… but a moment of truth,” Macron says. “I don’t miss a thing, that’s how you get respect.”