At home in the U.S., Donald Trump has already built quite the reputation for considering himself an expert on women's looks, but on Thursday, the president made that self-anointed status known around the world when he met with the recently elected French president Emmanuel Macron—and kept much of the focus on his wife, the first lady Brigitte Macron.
That was true from the start of his 24 hours in Paris as a guest while the city celebrates Bastille Day, which started with Trump providing the latest in his long history of weird handshakes—particularly with world leaders—by going in for a half hug and kiss, and steering Brigitte's hand toward him, as his wife Melania followed the usual, respectfully distanced protocol with Emmanuel.
As it turned out, though, that was just the beginning of Trump's special attention to France's first lady. After a day that included touring the museums at Les Invalides, the two first couples bid their goodbyes, which, according to an Agence France-Presse correspondent, for Trump, included pointedly looking Brigitte up and down. After apparently sizing her up, Trump vocalized his assessment: "You know, you're in such great shape," he told the first lady, turning to her husband to add, "beautiful." (The exchange was conveniently captured on the French government's live stream.)
Perhaps Trump felt a connection to Brigitte because she, like Trump, is also 24 years older than her partner, or perhaps he intended to make amends with Macron, who's been vocally criticizing his withdrawal the from the Paris Climate Accord. But somehow, Trump's comments come across as much, much creepier than when, say, former first lady Carla Bruni told W that Brigitte "has a good silhouette."
That's no doubt because, while in office, Trump has continued to take as many liberties when it comes to talking women's bodies as he did before he came president—like, you know, the times he's referred to women in only the most derogatory terms, or, of course, when he told Billy Bush that he feels free to grab women "by the pussy." Lately, Trump has continued not to shy from mincing words when it comes to women he doesn't like: Last month, he got back at the MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, who'd dared to criticize his Twitter account, by recalling to his 33 million Twitter followers the time he reportedly saw her "bleeding badly from a face-lift."
On Thursday, though, Trump seemed a bit shier with his comments: Rather than the French government's live stream, which captured Trump's comments to Brigitte, Trump opted for a different clip to share his Parisian sojourn with his followers—one with the audio conveniently turned down.
Brigitte diplomatically played along, unlike Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda, who prominently spurned a handshake with Trump at the G-7 meeting and briefly became an internet celebrity.
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