Speed Reads


Sean Spicer tells German media Trump probably didn't hear shouts for a handshake with Angela Merkel

President Trump is a hand-shaker — an aggressive one, at times — so it was kind of strange that at an Oval Office photo session with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, he did not shake her hand, despite her asking him if he wanted to. Despite this apparent snub and a later, awkward joke about wiretapping by former President Barack Obama, Trump wants you to know that he had a "GREAT meeting" with Merkel, regardless of what the "FAKE NEWS" and your own eyes might have surmised to the contrary.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer offered an explanation for the strange, apparently icy photo session, where Trump avoided all eye contact with Merkel as well as not shaking her hand. "I do not believe he heard the question," Spicer told Germany's Der Spiegel. If you sit through the first 50 seconds of the photo spray, you can hear what Trump apparently did not — reporters yelling out "Handshake?" and Merkel leaning over and asking if he wants to shake hands:

Now, Trump did shake Merkel's hand at least twice during their visit on Friday.

So if it was meant as a snub or show of pique, it was temporary on Trump's part. And another way to look at this is that Merkel was actually lucky. After Trump's notoriously long handshake with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February, John Oliver's Last Week Tonight put together this (briefly NSFW) compilation of Trump shaking hands in uncomfortable-to-watch ways. Peter Weber