Trump: Macron 'loves holding my hand'

President Trump in a new interview joked that French President Emmanuel Macron "loves" holding his hand. 

"He’s a great guy — smart, strong, he loves holding my hand," Trump told The New York Times on Wednesday, referring to the French leader. "People don’t realize, he loves holding my hand — that’s good!" 

The two leaders shared an extended departing handshake in Paris last week, which was mockingly timed by MSNBC. Anchor Katy Tur said the two leaders were "enjoying new romance."

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"The latest handshake that was seen around the world lasted nearly 30 seconds," she continued as an on-screen clock counted the seconds of the handshake. "There was a lot of leaning in with President Trump at one point using his other hand to pat Macron on the chest." 

Macron and Trump shared an intense handshake in May after meeting for the first time at a NATO meeting in Brussels, a move the French leader said was meant to assert his dominance.

"My handshake with him, it's not innocent," Macron told the Journal du Dimanche at the time. "It's not the alpha and the omega of politics, but a moment of truth."

A reporter traveling with Trump in Brussels said the two leaders "shook hands for an extended period of time."

"Each president gripped the other's hand with considerable intensity, their knuckles turning white and their jaws clenching and faces tightening," the reporter added.

Macron has been one of the most vocal supporters of the Paris climate deal and a critic of Trump’s decision to pull out of the agreement.