Melania Trump and Justin Trudeau: The truth behind that photograph

Recent photograph shows first lady looking amorous but sometimes the camera can lie

An image that appeared to capture an intimate moment between US first lady Melania Trump and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau quickly went viral, however footage of the incident shows the greeting between the two was brief. Video: EU Council

 

It’s the photo that launched a thousand “find someone who looks at you the same way Melania looks at Justin” tweets. Yet what might look rather amorous and “Oi, oi” in a still image looks, when you pull back and look at the bigger picture, pretty much like air-kissing business as usual at the G7 summit in Biarritz.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in France, do the innocent double air-kiss.

But really, why bother with the unadorned truth of it when the alternative is that much more alluring? To think, we could be talking about a bunch of pale, male and stale world leaders tackling poverty, climate change, trade warfare and Brexit.

A different view of the Melania Trump-Justin Trudeau encounter. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA
A different view of the Melania Trump-Justin Trudeau encounter. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

Nope, Melania and Sexy Socks is just a much more fun discussion. We’ve talked over the spouses’ fashion, we’ve pondered the weird blokey handshakes . . . now let’s try and inject a bit of ‘she’s ready to risk it all’ drama into proceedings.

Let’s, for one second, revert to the still image that has everyone making all sorts of suggestive cluckings, like overly enthusiastic aunties when you politely dance with your fourth cousin at a wedding.

The still image, in which Melania Trump is still holding the hand of her unwitting (no change there) husband, shows a woman swooning with relish into the arms of a Mills & Boon hero, enjoying a sort of ambrosial embrace.

You can also feel her eyelids flutter in ecstasy as she gets close to the Canadian prime minister. It’s almost like she doesn’t mind the mad argyle socks. And she’s in Handmaid’s Tale red, too. Insert your own “escape to Canada” joke, and indeed many people did.

First lady-bewitching

And of course, it’s a rather nice companion image to a photo taken two years ago of her step-daughter Ivanka, seemingly looking at Trudeau as if she wouldn’t mind doing all kinds of non-PG-rated stuff with him.

Fashion commentators had a collective conniption at Melania’s decision to wear a “four thousand dollar scarlet sheath dress” – “a particularly dramatic look saved for that encounter with Justin Trudeau” – exhaled one online outlet. Here was me thinking that Melania didn’t put too much thought into what she was wearing. Or was that just when she wears anoraks emblazoned with “I really don’t care, do U?”

I know it’s all a bit of ticklish online skit – the “bants”, I think the youngsters call it – but Trudeau’s irresistible magnetism is becoming one of the most boring world summit tropes there is.

I know the rest of the assembled delegates are like gammons in cufflinks, but do we have to refer to the only one with a full head of hair and an apparent line in good exfoliators like some sort of first lady-bewitching Ken doll?

Seemingly, we do. I suppose it’s a distraction from the awfulness of world events, and the realisation that these summits are about as useful to the world’s wellbeing as an ashtray on a motorbike.

Brigitte Macron, wife of French president Emmanuel Macron, kisses Donald Trump, flanked by Melania Trump and Mr Macron. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty
Brigitte Macron, wife of French president Emmanuel Macron, kisses Donald Trump, flanked by Melania Trump and Mr Macron. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty

Meanwhile, will no-one spare a thought for poor Brigitte Macron, who after a nudge from her own husband, stiffly planted a kiss on Donald Trump’s cheek as though she were a five-year-old girl ordered to kiss goodnight to a new “uncle” that her mum has just introduced her to? Le sigh.

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