Trudeau's handshake with Trump was short and sweet. Abe's was a never-ending 19-second 'tug-of-war'. Photograph: (AFP)
The Canadian PM Justin Trudeau got it right, his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe did not
Donald Trump's every order, move, and lie has been (rightly) scrutinised ever since he took office. He is after all the "most powerful man in the world".
Now, they've also begun paying attention to his handshake.
That scrutiny began after a very strange 19-second "tug-of-war" with the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. As Trump holds onto Abe's hand -- watch video below -- he, every few seconds, "pulls" the prime minister towards himself, making Abe looking more and more uncomfortable in the process.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had better luck, and seemed to have done his homework. His handshake with Trump was short and sweet (watch video below).
A photo (above) from their press meet captured Trudeau's moment of reflection before his quick and firm handshake with Trump, a far cry from grab-and-pull that Abe had to go through.
Twitter was quick to read into the 5-second moment between the two heads of state.
I've spent an embarrassing amount of time searching "Trump-Trudeau handshake" this morning.— Clare Malone (@ClareMalone) February 13, 2017
How awkward was that Trump,Trudeau handshake? pic.twitter.com/BBfqYIYfiB— Anthony Creed (@creed1992) February 13, 2017
Sorry Trump Trudeau wins round one of crazy handshake. Handshake interruptus. https://t.co/tSCmjTtEFf— MikeFarb (@mikefarb1) February 13, 2017
Trudeau's first meeting with the new US president was looked at with interest as the PM had a strong rapport with former Democratic president Barack Obama, prompting pundits to describe their relationship as a "bromance".
With Trump, soon after he put a hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily banned travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries in an executive order on January 27, citing the need to head off attacks by Islamist militants, the Canadian prime minister took to Twitter to say refugees were welcome in Canada.
Trump says the United States will be "tweaking" its trade relationship with Canada, stopping short of calling for a major realignment in a development likely to please visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trump has pledged to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA) linking the economies of the United States, Mexico and Canada to make the terms more favourable to Americans.
At a joint news conference with Trudeau after White House talks, Trump said his biggest concern with NAFTA was the US trade relationship with Mexico, which he has frequently accused of stealing American jobs. "We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We'll be tweaking it," Trump said. "It's a much less severe situation than what's taking place on the southern border. On the southern border, for many, many years the transaction was not fair to the United States," he said.
Trump said the United States and Canada were stronger when they joined forces in matters of international commerce, and both countries benefited from having more jobs and trade in North America. "We should coordinate closely - and we will coordinate closely - to protect jobs in our hemisphere and keep wealth on our continent, and to keep everyone safe," Trump said.
Trudeau carefully steered around questions about the Canadian trade relationship with the United States. He said he expected each country to always remain each other's most essential partner. "There have been times where we have differed in our approaches and that’s always been done firmly and respectfully. The last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they choose to govern themselves," Trudeau said.