Macron says long handshake with Trump was a "moment of truth" to show he won't make small concessions

Rebecca Smith
Trump met Macron in Brussels on Thursday
Trump met Macron in Brussels on Thursday (Source: Getty)

French President Emmanuel Macron has said his recent handshake with US President Donald Trump was a "moment of truth" to show he doesn't even make small concessions.

The two world leaders met in Brussels on Thursday before a Nato summit and much was made over their awkward, gripped handshake, which continued for several moments until Trump tried to pull away.

Read more: Macron meets Merkel in first state visit as French President

Macron told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper his approach to the encounter had been about getting respect, saying it was "not innocent". He told the French paper he wanted to demonstrate he "would not make small concessions, not even symbolic ones", while adding he didn't want to overdo things either.

"Donald Trump, the Turkish president or the Russian president see things in terms of power relationships, which doesn't bother me," he said. "I don't believe in diplomacy through public criticism, but in my bilateral dialogues I don't let anything pass. That is how you get respect."

Macron met his German counterpart Angela Merkel for the first time since his inauguration last Monday. He was elected as President earlier this month, in an emphatic victory over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

The centrist candidate won 66 per cent of the vote in the second round of the Presidential election, against the National Front candidate's 34 per cent.

The margin of victory was much higher than the 20 percentage point gap predicted ahead of the vote.

Meanwhile, Trump's take on handshakes, has become pretty well-known.

He tends to make them fairly prolonged and uses a bizarre technique of gripping his counterpart's hand and giving it a yank before releasing their hand, but other world leaders seem to have caught on...

Read more: Trump condemns Manchester attack as "barbaric and vicious"

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