Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Melania and Donald Trump arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel, on May 22. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The internet is heavily scrutinizing first lady Melania Trump’s body language toward President Donald Trump during their first trip abroad since he took office in January. Over the last two days, Melania appeared to swat away and deflect some of her husband’s attempts to hold her hand in public — although they were seen holding hands on other occasions during the trip.

Twitter users and left-leaning media outlets jumped on the footage, arguing that it reflected a crumbling presidential relationship. Others praised Melania for “joining the resistance” against the Trump administration.

On Monday, the first lady appeared to swat away her husband’s hand as he reached for hers while walking down a tarmac in Tel Aviv with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara.

The Netanyahus were holding hands and walking with Trump, slightly ahead of Melania.

In another instance, Melania appeared to avoid another public hand-holding with the president as the couple deplaned in Rome on Tuesday.

Twitter reacted with memes, gifs, and video compilations.

One Twitter user dubbed the first lady “the Queen of Hand Shade.”

The Independent, a left-leaning British newspaper, sought analysis from a body-language expert, Patti Wood, who called Melania’s hand-swatting a deliberate rebuke of the president.

“He was walking way in front to show his power and putting his hand back to lead her like a child,” Wood said. “Her hand went under his and up and out to say, ‘No, you can’t lead me like a child.'”

But the Trumps were also pictured holding hands on other occasions on the trip.

The Trumps hold hands as they arrive to board Air Force One to travel to Rome. Thomson Reuters

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