John Oliver Addresses Angela Merkel & Trump's Handshake On 'Last Week Tonight' & It Was Awkward
This week in awkward foreign diplomacy roulette, President Donald Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in what was pretty much assuredly going to be a cringeworthy meeting. Unsurprisingly, there was one particularly awful moment involving Trump's infamous handshake, or, in this case, the lack thereof. John Oliver addressed Angela Merkel and Trump's handshake on Last Week Tonight and made it painfully obvious how petty Trump's snub was.
Much has been made of Donald Trump's bizarre handshake style. It lasts too long. It jerks around a lot, unlike a certain 44th president's smooth, dignified grace. And one of Trump's fave power moves is yanking the other person's hand toward him in an apparent assertion of dominance. How this proves Trump's dominance and not just that he doesn't know how handshakes work is, as of yet, unclear. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even briefly broke Twitter when he managed to anticipate Trump's usual trick and kept his hand firmly in place. But the President's track record with women world leaders has been a little different. Back in January, for example, he grasped British Prime Minister Theresa May's hand as he was showing her around the White House — as in, he actually held her hand and patted it while they went for a walk. It was definitely uncomfortable, but it was also completely inappropriate. The unsolicited gesture of affection was, of course, brutal to watch, because it's not like Trump and May had a relationship warm and convivial enough to justify a tender hand-hold.
Merkel, in contrast, had the exact opposite experience. She did manage to escape the many clutches of Trump, but only because he flat out ignored her at a photo op. As they sat together in the White House, photographers repeatedly asked the two for a shot of them shaking hands. Merkel asked him if he would like to shake hands and he flat out ignored her. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer later claimed Trump didn't hear her, but it's obvious from the clip Oliver played that the room was abuzz with person after person calling out "Handshake?" Trump, nevertheless, persisted... in stonewalling Merkel. Her subsequent reaction face has achieved a certain level of perfect gif-dom, but her combination aghast and amused expression is literally all of us.
"Oh shake her hand, you weird, weird man!" Oliver exclaimed after playing the clip. "It is not often that you can genuinely say, 'Trump really should have touched that woman.'" He was right, though. Trump basically pulled a human equivalent of the see no evil, hear no evil monkey emojis. "He's treating the Chancellor of Germany like a drunk guy masturbating in a subway car," Oliver quipped, poking fun at how stubbornly Trump avoided her.
And although it seems clear that Trump intended to humiliate Merkel in some way, he was the one who came off looking impolite, at best, and like a total jerk, at worst.