CNN Panel Obsesses Over Trump-Macron Handshake; 'This Is Truly Eye-Popping Stuff!'

July 14th, 2017 8:48 PM

When not completely obsessed by Trump-Russia collusion allegations, CNN is focused like a laser on the truly monumental matters. An example was Friday's in depth analysis by their New Day panel on the details of a handshake between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron following the Bastille Day parade in Paris.  Such importance was given to this discussion that hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota even brought in outside experts to break down the handshake for us.

Before we watch the CNN handshake discussion, let us first watch the handshake in question as the seconds are conveniently counted out.

Of course, we lowly peons can hardly be expected to make much sense of that extended handshake. Fortunately we have a CNN handshake panel to explain to us what we just saw.

JOHN BERMAN: All right. It is already being called, by us mostly, the mother of all handshakes.


BERMAN: Only by us, as far as we know. The mother of all handshakes.

President Trump and President Macron saying good-bye to each other with this handshake that never stopped and morphed into several different handshakes and things at once.

Joining us to discuss, political writer for "The Atlantic", Molly Ball, CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett.

Really, Kate -- Molly, I should say. We were looking at this and sort of joking about how the relationship between President Trump and Emmanuel Macron changed.

CAMEROTA: It never ends. It's still going on, this handshake. Look at that.

BERMAN: And this is a handshake with affection as opposed to the first time they met when they had sort of the fierce handshake face- off. I think we have pictures of that to give you a contrast of what that was like, when they first met.

Here it is right now. It's going back and forth. We'll find that and show what we're talking here.

But, Molly, you know, the politics of physical interaction, explain.

MOLLY BALL, POLITICAL WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, I would say, first of all, we know Macron approaches these handshakes somewhat strategically. He said after the first aggressive handshake that he did it on purpose, he was trying to make a statement, he was trying to sort of speak what he sees as Trump's language which is the language of dominance and gain the upper hand literally in this interaction.

We don't need body language to tell us that the relationship between Trump and Macron is going to be awkward. Trump all but campaigned for Macron's opponent in his election, and they embody very different points of view about Europe and about globalism.

But -- so, this seems to be another interaction where Macron, who seems to be the one who is not letting go, is sending some kind of message.

And the message he sent with this whole trip has been that he wants to have a relationship of openness with the United States, but he's willing to be aggressive in projecting his point of view.

CAMEROTA: Kate, not only is he shaking Macron's hand there, also simultaneously hugging and kissing his wife. Not easy to do. And as John said, he thought there were seven hands involved in that handshake, but there really only can be six. In any event, what do you see in all this body language?

I violently disagree. I place myself in the eight hand camp.

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It was handsy. I mean, I think at the end of the day, Macron had a goal, and that goal was to sort of woo President Trump and build this friendship and establish it. He did so with lots of pomp and circumstance, an arrival ceremony and today's parade, and dinner last night in the Eiffel Tower, and sort of all the bells and whistles that maybe resonate with President Trump.

In that sense, this very friendly good-bye where President Trump doesn't want to let go and they're doing the sort of bro shake. That very much says it went beyond sort of a professional relationship, where this weekend did more to solidify a friendship. And, you know, they're buddies now. I think that's what this closeness and all those hands maybe demonstrated as well.

Ah, the bro shake. Thank you, CNN, for bringing in a White House reporter to clarify that all-important point.

And just when you think this can't get any more silly, we have CNN's Editor-at-large Chris Cillizza to provide us with a second-by-second analysis of the Trump-Macron handshake. Yes, Cillizza actually provides us a microanalysis of each second of the handshake. It is much too voluminous of an analysis to recite in full here but at least let me provide you with the crucial 22 second mark: 

Trump and Brigitte Macron are now holding hands! I repeat: Trump and Brigitte Macron are now holding hands! And Trump and Emmanuel Macron are holding their bro-shake. Three-way handshake. Holy cow. This is truly eye-popping stuff.

Eh! If you say so, Chris. However, you know what would be truly eye-popping stuff? If after all this Trump-Russia collusion nonsense come to naught and CNN President Jeff Zucker who has been rabidly chasing that White Whale finally has a mental meltdown and ends up swinging butterfly nets at the Happy Farms institution. One day President Trump comes to visit and Jeff finally concedes defeat by dropping to his knees and shaking hands with the President on his way back to the rubber room. Now that would be truly eye-popping stuff!