Donald Trump seated himself next to Brigitte Macron, with whom he’d shared an uncomfortable handshake with earlier in the day that lingered on a little too long -and in which she appeared to be trying to get him to let go.
He’d also told France’s 64-year-old first lady in remarks that were caught on tape: ‘You know, you’re in such good shape.’
The compliment was made in front of her husband, the 39-year-old French president, and Trump, 71, repeated it to him before turning back to Mme Macron and saying to her: ‘Beautiful.’
A French official Facebook live stream captured the interaction. What was not caught was Melania Trump’s reaction, as her back was to the camera.
However, the American first lady, 47, seemed to move closer to Mme Macron and put her hand around her protectively as Trump spoke to her.
The awkward exchange came after Macron her husband welcomed Donald and Melania to Paris on the eve of Bastille Day.
Trump kissed Mme Macron Parisian-style, once on each cheek, before taking both her hands for a prolonged grip, in which he appeared to jerk her left arm towards him as she appeared to be struggling to get him to let go.
It was an off-script start to a carefully-choreographed visit to Paris which on Friday will see Trump and Macron together for the Bastille Day celebrations, as well the couple dining together on Thursday evening at the Eiffel Tower.