Admitted sexual assaulter and alleged president Donald J. Trump just had the world’s most awkward handshake with Barack and Michelle Obama.
In a video clip for the ages, the Trumps arrived at the funeral of George H.W. Bush and sat next to the Obamas, as is normal protocol. Being incredibly civil people, the Obamas greeted them with polite handshakes.
Bill Clinton appeared to glance at the motion on his right, but Hillary Clinton stared straight ahead, while Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter remained blissfully intent on their thoughts and prayers.
If a picture is worth a thousand words of text, this clip is worth millions of words in subtext. For example, bear in mind how warm and welcoming the Obamas have always been to Melania.
WATCH: President Trump and the First Lady enter the National Cathedral, and shake hands with the Obamas as they take their seats for George H.W. Bush's funeral. pic.twitter.com/NAxJsozKGy
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 5, 2018
I could watch the Trumps taking their seat next to the Obamas 1000 times. So much going on there.
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) December 5, 2018
I mean, the Obamas are the very portrait of genteel Black civility. And there would never be this level of praise for either of them just being… human.
— Ebony Elizabeth (@Ebonyteach) December 5, 2018
In the moments before the Trumps arrived, however, everyone was interacting like friends. The contrasting scenes could not have been sharper, but that was by Donald’s own choice to sit down without greeting his predecessors.
Clintons and Obamas chatting in the pew pic.twitter.com/bWIMWppnsw
— Michael Del Moro (@MikeDelMoro) December 5, 2018
The Obamas and Clintons were smiling and having an animated conversation. Then the Trumps showed up. https://t.co/AhxRFTT3qu
— Betty Cracker (@bettycrackerfl) December 5, 2018
The chill seemed to be bipartisan. Even Dick Cheney was engaged in the conversation before the Trumps showed up. He observed the exchange, but did not interact with the Trumps.
The Obamas, Clintons and Cheneys were all talking and even smiling together til the Trumps arrived. Not anymore. https://t.co/EpbAOfRHTi
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) December 5, 2018
War criminals won’t talk to Donald Trump. Even fellow sex perverts won’t talk to Trump. The Carters, by contrast, are saints, yet they also avoid interacting with Trump. Only the Obamas are required to act gracefully towards him. in fact, they are the only people in the shot expected to act with perfect politeness. While that is partly an accident of seating protocol, the visual encapsulates so much about the America where the Trump presidency was ever possible in the first place.
Featured image via NBC News/screengrab