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Behind white knuckles, Macron makes up his own mind


In May, when Donald Trump first met Emmanuel Macron, how was their famous handshake so misinterpreted by the U.S. media? The centrist, rational, climate-aware young president was obviously not going to like Trump. Right? Well images from the past two days seem to undercut any impression of dislike between the two men.

After the white-knuckle handshake made headlines around the world, there was a quote from the young French president, oft buried in the avalanche of sinew and bone: "I saw a leader with strong opinions on a number of subjects, which I share in part — the fight against terrorism, the willingness to keep our place in the family of nations — and with whom I have disagreements that we spoke about very calmly," Macron said.

"I saw someone who listens and who is willing to work," he added.

Indeed, the headline most of us saw was: "Macron says handshake with Trump was 'not innocent.'"

Once again, the media is focusing on the superficial takeaways rather than the boring details of how two long-term allies find their way to consensus.

In fact, on Friday, Bastille Day, the headlines exploded with yet another prolonged handshake between the dynamic duo on their inarguably friendly visit for France's big day. "Shake Hands Like a Normal Person," commanded Esquire in a possibly first imperative headline for the mens magazine.