President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin shared an oddly warm greeting Sunday when the two took part in a ceremony in Paris marking 100 years since the end of World War I. The two leaders arrived separately from the more than 60 heads of state who took part in the commemorations and when Putin showed up it seems clear Trump was happy to see him. A photo that quickly went viral and many said was surprisingly telling, shows Trump flashing a big smile when he sees Putin, whereas France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel look at him much more sternly.
It was the first time Putin and Trump saw each other since their now infamous Helsinki summit in July. And on Sunday, it was “the only moment” Trump “brightened up,” wrote the Guardian’s Julian Borger. “He flashed a goofy smile, all the more noticeable alongside Macron and Merkel who had switched their demeanour to steel resolve on spotting the Russian leader.”
“Putin murders journalists & opponents, recently used a nerve agent to assassinate a dissident on British soil, annexed Crimea, facilitates war crimes, and attacked American democracy. This is how Trump reacted when he saw him,” wrote Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas. David Schneider gave his Twitter followers a piece of advice: “Find someone who looks at you the way Trump looks at Putin.”
The smiling picture was one part of the warm greeting that the two shared that included nods at each other, a shoulder tap from Trump and another tap courtesy of Putin, who even flashed a thumbs up sign. Trump and Putin were going to have a one-on-one meeting in Paris but the preliminary plans were scrapped as Macron feared it would overshadow the Armistice Day ceremonies. But later, Putin told Russian news agencies he did talk to Trump in Paris
Support our journalism
Help us continue covering the news and issues important to you—and get ad-free podcasts and bonus segments, members-only content, and other great benefits.Join Slate Plus