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Moment Joe Biden gives French President Macron 42-second handshake

Awkward moment Joe Biden gives French President Macron a 42-second long handshake during welcome ceremony at the White House – then Macron guides lost Biden back to crowd

  • President Joe Biden gave French President Emmanuel Macron a 42-second long handshake on Thursday during a welcome ceremony outside the White House
  • Biden took Macron’s hand in his, and the two embraced while a French translation of the final section of Biden’s speech was broadcast over the crowd
  • As the pair stood talking and laughing, Macron appeared on numerous occasions to try to break the embrace, but Biden held firm
  • Biden faced the crowd and froze in place with a smile on his face, while Macron was stuck facing the president
  • The awkward moment kicked off the French president’s state visit to Washington DC, and was quickly followed by a few other odd gaffs from Biden 

President Joe Biden shook French President Emmanuel Macron’s hand for an awkward 42 seconds during a welcome ceremony at the White House on Thursday.

The two presidents grasped hands after Biden finished delivering a brief speech in which he discussed the importance of the alliance between the United States and France.

Biden took Macron’s hand in his, and the two embraced and talked while a French translation of the final section of Biden’s speech was broadcast over the crowd.

As the pair stood there talking, laughing, and slapping each others arms, Macron appeared on numerous occasions to try to break the embrace, but Biden held firm and didn’t let go.

At one point Biden faced the crowd and froze in place with a smile on his face while Macron – hand still firmly in Biden’s – was stuck facing the president. The pair finally broke apart after the French translation was completed.

It is unclear whether Biden held that pose for photographers, or whether he was simply waiting for the translation to end to release Macron.

The awkward moment kicked off the French president’s state visit to Washington DC, and was quickly followed by a few other odd gaffs from Biden.

President Joe Biden shook French President Emmanuel Macron’s hand for an awkward 42 seconds during a welcome ceremony at the White House on Thursday

It is unclear whether Biden held that pose for photographers, or whether he was simply waiting for the translation to end to release Macron

While standing on stage after the speech, Biden and Macron faced the crowd and stood side by side while photographers seemingly snapped away.  

At one point Biden suddenly turned to face Macron and stared at him for about five seconds.

Biden then turned almost completely around and away from the crowd. 

Macron then began speaking to the president, and raised his finger to gesture at the crowd, at which point Biden finally turned back around to face photographers.

Off the stage, while the two presidents greeted members of the audience Biden seemed to wander aimlessly and had to be continually brought back to the group by Macron.

The French president remained engaged with the crowd, but as Biden began to shuffle off Macron grabbed his arm and directed him back into the group.


While standing on stage after the speech, Biden and Macron faced the crowd and stood side by side while photographers seemingly snapped away. At one point Biden suddenly turned to face Macron and stared at him for about five seconds


Biden then turned almost completely around and away from the crowd. Macron then began speaking to the president, and raised his finger to gesture at the crowd, at which point Biden finally turned back around to face photographers

Off the stage, while the two presidents greeted members of the audience Biden seemed to wander aimlessly and had to be continually brought back to the group by Macron

The Macrons arrived in the United States on Tuesday evening and their visit started off with an unexpected shot at their hosts.  

The French president blasted Biden for his economic subsidies in a sign of a tense meeting to come.

A reporter for Agence France-Presse heard Macron complain that Biden’s industrial subsidies are ‘super aggressive’ against French competitors.

‘This is super aggressive for our business people,’ Macron was heard telling members of Congress and business leaders at a lunch on Wednesday.

He told lawmakers the policies will ‘kill a lot of jobs’ in Europe unless they are synchronized globally. 

The Macrons arrived in the United States on Tuesday evening and their visit started off with an unexpected shot at their hosts

Biden and Macron wave to the crowd after the welcome ceremony outside the White House on Thursday 

Macron and Biden had their hands all over each other during the state visit on Thursday

After the two had a private meeting together, Biden defended his plan to revive America’s economy, which includes $368 billion to fund green technology for U.S. manufacturers.

‘I make no apology’ for it,’ he said. But, in an effort to try and ease friction, he conceded his landmark legislation has ‘glitches’ that need to be fixed in order not to harm Europe. 

‘There’s obviously going to be glitches in it and [we] need to reconcile changes in it,’ he admitted without going into detail about what those might be.

He described them as ‘tweaks that we can make that can fundamentally make it easier for European countries to participate.’

President Emmanuel Macron and President Joe Biden shake hands in the Oval Office

President Biden and President Macron walk into the Oval Office

The French and American president held a joint press conference at the White House after a private meeting where they discussed Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act

The day was capped off with a black-tie state dinner at the White House, which was rife with champagne toasts and celebrity guests.

The presidents clinked glasses and talked about the long friendship between their two nations.

‘France was our first ally. The first country to fly an American flag after our revolution,’ Biden said. ‘I actually grew up in a place called New Castle, Delaware County, near Brandywine Battlefield. Where a young man named Marquis de Lafayette fought for the American cause and became close friends with a fellow named George Washington.’

‘Later Lafayette wrote of their friendship, and I quote, “It was such simplicity that two friends were united by the greatest of the causes.” Today, we’re still united, by the greatest of causes: democracy, liberty, equality, opportunity and freedom,’ the president continued.

‘We stand together against oppression and injustice, we stick up for one another in our democratic values to which Washington and Lafayette dedicated their lives,’ he said. ‘And we still strive to build a world that’s worthy of our highest hopes and of our future, knowing that we can always, always count on one another as allies and friends.’

French President Emmanuel Macron (left) and President Joe Biden (right) participate in a toast at the Biden administration’s first state dinner with France Thursday night 

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden host their first state dinner for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte

The glass pavilion was tucked in a corner of the South Lawn beneath a set of trees with the Washington Monument visible behind it

Biden asked the guests to raise their glasses, ‘which neither one of us have,’ as the waiter brought two champagne flutes onstage – and the presidents toasted. ‘Viva la France and God bless America,’ Biden said.

Macron dedicated his toast to ‘dear Joe, my dear friend.’

The French president spoke of how people in the United States and France are ‘living in democracy and freedom.’

‘And in a lot of places today, these principles are at risk or challenged, even in our societies, in our democracies, a lot of people just want to jeopardize or revert from this principle, challenge elections and so on, we stand together shoulder to shoulder,’ Macron said.

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