Wife of Polish leader rejects Trump’s handshake offer in favour of Melania

Article by Alana Mitchelson /
The New Daily /
July 07, 2017 /
Click here to view original /

After a series of controversial handshake encounters during Donald Trump’s inaugural meetings with numerous world leaders, the US President seems to have met his match in the Polish president’s wife.

Andrzej Duda welcomed Mr Trump to Poland on Thursday (local time) ahead of the G20 Summit, but his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda appeared to be in no rush to meet the unconventional US leader.

Mr Trump offered his hand to Ms Kornhauser-Duda, but the moment they may have made brief eye contact, she strode past him with her arm outstretched towards Mrs Trump.

Mr Trump quickly drops his hand, shaking Ms Kornhauser-Duda’s hand moments later before quickly recovering by waving to the crowd and making a quick getaway.

Griffith University’s Dr David Tuffley, a socio-technical studies senior lecturer, told The New Daily that the traditional etiquette of hand-shaking suggested a man should wait for the woman to initiate.

“It is proper for a woman to offer her hand. Usually, the man shouldn’t take that initiative,” he said of the awkward moment.

“She could have been making a point of her personal opinion of Trump or she may just be a bit old-school.

“Trump looked momentarily grumpy. When she did offer him her hand, he shook it and disengaged straight away. He walked away.

“Melania’s smile, I’d imagine, was to smooth things over and lighten the mood.”

Mr Duda has since taken to Twitter, one of Mr Trump’s favourite mediums, to condemn media reports that had edited out the subsequent handshake between the pair.

“Contrary to some surprising reports, my wife did shake hands with Mrs and Mr Trump after a great visit,” he wrote.

“Let’s fight fake news.”

University of Melbourne’s Dr Lauren Rosewarne, a senior lecturer in politics and gender studies, told The New Daily she found it difficult to explain the the apparent handshake rejection as an actual snub.

She said it may have been an innocent “oversight”.

“Given the relatively positive relationship that Trump has with the conservative populist leader of Poland, it’s hard to imagine,” Dr Rosewarne said.

“But then again, we don’t know. Given the deluge of footage we’ve seen of Trump’s violent handshakes with world leaders, perhaps she was just being extra careful about her personal safety.”

This incident follows a series of frosty episodes between Mr Trump and Mrs Trump.

Video footage released yesterday showed the couple boarding Air Force One in Washington during which the president walks well ahead of his wife of 17 years, and begins to climb the steps without waiting for Mrs Trump.

In May, the First Lady was memorably caught out swatting Mr Trump’s hand away.

“Donald and Melania look like a mismatched couple: he is boorish, she often physically recoils from his touch,” Dr Rosewarne said.

“This can be interpreted as a lack of intimacy. But that said, it could also just be interpreted as a lack of ‘public’ intimacy.”

Trump has made a habit of awkward handshakes with world leaders.

He previously shook the hand of the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, forcefully for an extended period of time.

The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, gave a similar handshake to Trump when the pair met in March, while there were also reports the US President ignored Angela Merkel’s hand earlier this year.