Is This Why Melania Trump Avoids Holding Hands With Donald In Public?

This week, Melania has been filmed declining to hold her husband's hand. But why?

donald melania trump

by Katie Rosseinsky |
Updated on

If you've seen the latest clip of Donald and Melania Trump stepping off Air Force One, you'll have seen the cringeworthy moment where the First Lady pulls her hand away from her husband when he attempts to hold it. It is not a message of solidarity and love that a President seeking reelection will be aiming for, but it is consistent with years of such instances. So why do they seem to have such an issue with being physically affectionate in public?

We saw a similar case in 2017, when Donald and Melania appeared at a rally in Florida. Melania appeared to physically recoil when her husband touched her. In 2018, she appeared to swat away his touch on camera again. Why?

According to an interview given to The Washington Post by her friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, 'they are not that couple that holds hands just because: she is old-world European and it’s not who she is.' Who knew we Europeans were so cold. Social distancing should have been a breeze.

Then again, Donald has also shown a certain reticence to touch Melania in the past.In Melania’s first public appearance since her husband’s inauguration, the new first couple stepped off Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport, ready to visit Trump’s resort at Mar-A-Lago.

Initially the pair held hands, before the President broke away in order to clap along with a group of supporters who had gathered on the tarmac. After Melania reached out to take his hand once again, Trump appeared to awkwardly pat his wife’s hand before dropping it completely.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, body language expert Patti Wood puts Trump’s dismissive behaviour down to his overwhelming desire to be seen as an ‘alpha’ male who stands alone.

‘Typically a hand-hold shows a couple as a unit,’ Wood explains. ‘But to me, I think he’s saying, “I want to be seen as the President on my own,” which is very much alpha. “I want to be just the powerful me.” And it’s clear that that’s his choice.’

donald melania trump
Donald and Melania Trump at the inauguration ©Getty Images

‘Holding hands can communicate so much about an individual and a couple, depending on the position of the hands, who reaches in first, who breaks it first,’ she continues.

While Trump’s less-than-reassuring patting gesture seemed to be offered as a consolation to his wife, Wood doesn’t see it as affectionate behaviour.

‘It could’ve been affection if he’d cupped his hand, if he’d done it with sweetness, or if he had kissed her and done it,’ she explains. ‘He pulls it up towards him, it has some admonishing to it, some power, and then he has that flat hand to say, “No no.”’

‘He doesn’t want to do it in public. It’s very clear that she does, she would like that,’ she continues. ‘That would make her feel connected and she would get some of that power and confidence and he’s saying, “No, not in public”’

So, is Melania turning the tables, either reminding Donald that he has treated her similarly in the past? Or is she looking ahead to the next steps in their relationship? In a few months we will, after all, know if the couple will spend another four years in the White House, and has the presidential race heats up their future is uncertain. Perhaps, in detaching from her husband physically, she is attempting to show independence, resilience and self-assuredness on the cusp of seismic change.

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