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Angela Merkel's Handshake Has No Poker Face

We wouldn't have noticed if Trump hadn't refused to shake her hand. But once you've seen it, you can't unsee it.

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This is the moment that started it all. Angela Merkel. Donald Trump. The Oval Office.

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

You remember. The two most important leaders in the Western world meet. One pouts, and refuses to shake the other's hand. Gasps ring out. Ink is spilled.

When it comes to extending a hand in the socially accepted fashion of demonstrating you're not, like, hiding a weapon — it's as if Merkel shows her innermost ~feelings~ with a handshake.


Sometimes they're about playing nice.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Merkel has practiced her "making peace" handshake on domestic political opponents and less-than-beloved foreign leaders, and she broke it out onstage with Ivanka Trump at a women's economic summit in Berlin in April.

Although two can play at that game, apparently.

Meeting with Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel


Being a female leader in Europe, you're always at risk of dudes getting up in your space.

John Macdougall / AFP / Getty Images

That's Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, a major body of the European Union, saying goodbye to Merkel.

And sometimes, it's that "no seriously, I have to touch you to make you understand" thing dudes do to women.

David Stockman / AFP / Getty Images

Even women who are among Europe's longest-running and most powerful democratic leaders, turns out.


But none will ring as loudly around the world as this. Oh, close!

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

Trump and Merkel's hands finally publicly approached each other at a press conference at the White House in March.


Angela Merkel is shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping. An earlier post mistakenly referred to him as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, due to an error in the photo's captions.

Jina Moore is the global women's rights correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Berlin.

Contact Jina Moore at

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