Donald Trump was all fingers and thumbs during a carefully choreographed photo op.
Donald Trump was all fingers and thumbs during a carefully choreographed photo op today at a summit of world leaders, failing to grasp whose hands he was supposed to be holding and breaking a lineup intended to showcase unity.
Trump, whose insurgent election victory was built on his willingness to disrupt political convention, was supposed to cross his arms and join hands with the men on either side of him.
But as others clutched the hands of the person to their left and their right, Trump used both of his hands to clasp the extended fingers of Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
President Trump learns the traditional "ASEAN handshake" in Manila pic.twitter.com/Bii9oMfTdC— Jonathan Ernst (@j_ernst_DC) November 13, 2017
The doubling up left summit host Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte with a spare hand -- and broke the line into two parts.
The handshake chain is a set piece of gatherings of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), who are meeting with leaders from China, the US, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, India, Canada, Japan and South Korea.
After an awkward few seconds, Trump appeared to recognise his error and made the link between Nguyen and Duterte.
However Twitterati would have none of it, and had some hilarious and witty observations to make:
Trump does the ASEAN-way handshake (via AP). pic.twitter.com/AEWB96WTxj— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 13, 2017
Trump always reminds me of That "one kid" in an elementary school production/ show.— elise pearlie (@elise_pearlie) November 13, 2017
Guessing two problems: 1) he admittedly hates to shakes hands because he's a germaphobe, and 2) he has to get his crossed arms around his massive 345 lbs rotundity. That's a stretch.#BLOTUS#ImpeachTrump— Jeffrey K. Walker (@JkwalkerAuthor) November 13, 2017
Duterte looks like he wants to stab him— Daniel B (@danielbCIC) November 13, 2017
We r in safe hands.... aren’t we?— Nauzet Sanchez (@naulondon) November 13, 2017
You'd figure the old pussy grabber would be better at the reach around?— Rolnd Karl Ostheim (@RolndKarl) November 13, 2017
This may be the most exercise Trump has had in the past 10 years.— Kremlin's Fiddle (@kremlinsfiddle) November 13, 2017
Trump is on the final leg of a tour of Asia that has taken in Japan, South Korea, China and Vietnam.
The famously bullish former businessman has largely avoided the kind of protocol pitfalls that can ensnare even the most careful traveller in this often formal part of the world.