There was just so much contact.
The two men exchanged cheekbones in the French style. They shook hands and held hands and hands. And they embraced and moved and shouldered.
They were President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, and on Tuesday they became even more entangled in their great histoire d 'amour. Macron's visit to the White House on Tuesday followed a private dinner between the two leaders and their wives in Mount Vernon on Monday night, including 21 salute shots, a joint press conference in the ornate East Room, and a state dinner ̵
But perhaps more important, the hurricane and the visit, with a touch of discomfort, provided another glimpse into the Trump-Macron relationship, an unusual friendship told through a series of phalangeal snapshots and stills.
The extensive public display of affection also raised the question of whether Trump and Macron had finally embarked on a true transcontinental bromance or whether the two men were merely participating in an alpha game of sophistry.
French President Emmanuel Macron watches as US President Donald Trump turns something that Trump called a shed from his jacket at his meeting at the Oval Office on Tuesday. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
The answer, said David Givens, director of the Center for Nonverbal Study, is a little bit of both.
"It's more of a playful dominance," Givens said. "The romance is here and they're just kidding, but it's real."
Their relationship began last May with a white-knuckled, jaw-clenching, six-Mississippi handshake in Brussels. In an interview with the Journal du Dimanche at the time, Macron described the physical confrontation as "a moment of truth" and "not innocent."
"We have to show that we will not make small concessions, even symbolic ones," even though I'm not exaggerating things, "said Macron.
Of course, Macron is a clever politician who, as this initial handshake has shown , is also a cautious student of Trump Macron, if he can win Iran's problems to Syria, if he can manipulate Trump and his affection The European rulers at a time when Trump seems to abandon the global order after the Second World War. 19659013] French President Emmanuel Macron greets US President Trump at a White House arrival ceremony Tuesday (Al Drago / Bloomberg)
Regardless of the motives, almost a year later, NBC News named the personal chemistry of the Duos "the art of feeling," and indeed on Tuesday all emotions were in full bloom.
The physicality almost began As soon as Macron's limousine reached the White House South Lawn and the men exchanged two kiss cheeks.
The leaders then checked the troops and went almost in step to admire the US military before retreating to the Truman balcony, where she and her wives clasped hands triumphantly.
The man seemed ready to go inside. Both waved to the crowd, with one hand and then two. Macron raised a thumb and patted his heart. Trump saluted and showed. Finally, almost simultaneously, they pressed their arms against each other's backs as if they were making sure that they would leave the stage together without taking in a second headlamp more than the other.
Like almost all formulaic bromances, the women – in this case Trump's wife Melania and Macron's wife Brigitte – were banished into almost silent supporting roles that one could look at but not really hear.
Nonetheless, Melania Trump made the most of her non-talking cameos and cut a radiant silhouette against the cloudy sky. She put on a sleek, dull white Michael Kors suit and eye-catching white hat and seemed to be channeling Olivia Pope, the heroine of ABC's political drama "Scandal."
Out in the rose garden, back in the Oval Office, and later during their joint press conference, Trump and Macron still found ways to touch.
At one point, along the East Colonnade, Trump reached for Macron and the two joined with outstretched hands – a scene that appears in photos to be the graceful agility of two ballerinas instead of two geopolitical allies, all in one physical and emotional tug of war.
At the press conference, Macron sometimes touched Trump's arm as he spoke. And as the French president finished his prepared remarks, the leaders shook hands, then clasped their hands and then patted their hands before drawing each other closer for another partial embrace. Then it was time for another cheek kiss, as well as a "This guy!" With a fingertip on Macron from Trump's left hand.
"I really like him," enthused Trump.
At 3:00 am, the president's banner image on his Twitter account changed into a morning panamora scene in which her arms twisted so easily.
There were also moments of clear momentum when Trump turned to Macron in the Oval Office, saying that in a sign of their "very special relationship," he was even ready to cut something out of his suit.
"In fact, I'm going to get rid of this little piece of scales," Trump said, wiping Macron's suit swiftly with one finger. "We need to perfect him, he's perfect."
The interactions throughout the visit, said Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of "SNAP: The Best of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma," are largely lost a category called "bauble."
By exclaiming Macron's alleged dandruff, she said Trump "did something called primate care."
"It said," We have an intimate relationship, but I am Dominant, I'm the Alpha Gorilla, I'll take care of you, "Wood said. "But I'll criticize you by saying that you have dandruff and I'll do that on the world stage and see how you handle it."
The one-day love affair was remarkably good for another reason. For prejudices both politically and culturally, Republicans have for years been calling the word "French" something of an exhausted deposition – an insult flung by John F. Kerry during his failed presidential bid and a brief name change after 9/11 " French fries "to" Freedom Fries "in the cafeteria of the house.
When the press conference ended on Tuesday, the two men offered another robust handshake, almost as if driven by mere muscle memory.
Then, as they turned to leave, Macron turned his back to Trump, then put his hand on the US President's right shoulder for one last long push as the pair headed back to the West Wing.
James McAuley contributed to the report.