New Delhi: On Thursday, US President Donald Trump and Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar greeted each other with what has become a customary social greeting in the time of coronavirus: the ‘namaste’.
The duo made the decision to not shake hands considering the threat of an infection. The US President then went on to say that he did not shake hands with anyone during his visit to India last month.
#WATCH US President Donald Trump: We (him&PM of Ireland) didn't shake hands today&we looked at each other&said what are we going to do?Sort of a weird feeling. We did this (joined hands). I just got back from India&I didn't shake any hands there. It was easy. #CoronaVirusPandemic pic.twitter.com/5uTSKTf7bO
— ANI (@ANI) March 13, 2020
Addressing the media at the White House, Trump said, “We looked at each other and said, ‘What are we going to do?’”. He admitted that it felt a bit odd welcoming the visiting Irish PM without a handshake. “You know, it’s sort of a weird feeling,” he said.
“I just got back from India and I didn’t shake any hands there. It was easy,” he added.
However, Trump’s claim of not shaking hands with anyone in India is not true. During his visit to India last month, he was seen shaking hands with and even hugging leaders on different occasions — the Motera stadium and a meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind, for example.
And there are photographs to prove it.
Here is a photo of Trump hugging Prime Minister Narendra Modi after arriving at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad on 24 February. Both the leaders also hugged inside the Motera stadium where Namaste Trump event was being organised.
The two leaders not only hugged but also shook hands several times during the tour.
The US President also shook hands with President Ram Nath Kovind at the ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan on 24 February.
He also insisted on shaking hands with Union Minister Amit Shah when he met the latter before the Namaste Trump event in Ahmedabad. While Shah did a namaste first, the two leaders also went on to shake hands.
We also found a frame where Trump was seen shaking hands with an official before the Motera event began.
Trump was also spotted shaking hands with journalists at the Rashtrapati Bhavan dinner.
As cases of coronavirus cross 135,073 globally, social distancing has become the new social protocol. Politicians and leaders are also avoiding handshakes and doing namaste instead.