If there is one thing that is guaranteed when President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are spotted together in public, it is that there will be an awkward hand-holding moment. Tuesday night’s first presidential debate was no different. As the two candidates were joined on stage by their wives, viewers tuning into the 90-minute commercial-free event, the first of three such debates scheduled to take place ahead to the 2020 election, they couldn't help but notice an odd moment.
As the camera panned away from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, eyes were glued to Trump and the first lady. In sharp contrast to the hug shared between his competitor and his wife, Trump and Melania stood stoically. At one point, however, after rubbing her arm in greeting, the president could be seen jerking his right hand, which was holding his wife's.
Love will always win.pic.twitter.com/XFDv5WRwZQ— Ben Meiselas (@meiselasb) September 30, 2020
The moment marked just the latest in a series of notable hand-holding gaffes that have marked Trump's presidency. In May of 2017, as the president made his first international trip since taking office, the first lady appeared to swat her husband's hand away when they arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel. More recently, in August of this year, Melania appeared to pull her hand away as Trump reached out for it as they stepped off Air Force One.
Just as with those prior moments, Tuesday night's moment didn't go unnoticed, and it quickly became a talking point on social media. Across Twitter, debate viewers reacted to the hand-hold, many attempting to figure out what exactly occurred.
Did y’all see him strong arm Melania’s hand???— Futon (Broke People Sleep on Me) (@RogueHOUSports) September 30, 2020
the best melania could get was a stiff arm rub ? LMAOOOO— 🦋 (@_KennNae) September 30, 2020
He’s trying to pull her hand closer to him. She’s refusing.— Alison Wright (@alison__wright) September 30, 2020
Someone save Melania https://t.co/7bezCenwyl— RyanJK.eth (@RJ_Kunz) September 30, 2020
Melania's prenup agreement did not specify PDAs after debates.
So it is possible for a Trump to play by the rules. https://t.co/Xb3CEcoaUm— that's DOCTOR emigre80 to you, mate (@emigre80) September 30, 2020
Did...the Trump awkwardly pat his wife's arm, then see the Bidens warmly hug...and then...take Melania's hand and yank on it?September 30, 2020
Super telling how Melania got an arm rub from her husband while Jill got a big hug and kiss from hers.— ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿 (@Lizlee166) September 30, 2020
I love how Jill ran and hugged her husband and @JoeBiden grabbed her and hugged her back!— VOTE BLUE IN LARGE NUMBERS 2020 (@nenavickie) September 30, 2020
Melania got an arm rub.
lmaooo did Trump just pull on Melania’s arm to try to get a hug after watching Biden be embraced by his wife?? 😂😂😂😂😂— andres (@andy21meds) September 30, 2020
This is sad to watch. For a brief moment I felt for them. https://t.co/ovyHCdbnve— Julian Jons 🇺🇸😷🌊 🗳🎃🎨 (@r1r) September 30, 2020
Seriously, what is that about? https://t.co/682cquENgr— Tami (@TamiforBiden) September 30, 2020
Biden hugs his wife and Trump just gave Melania some awkward arm rub. 😂— SCHOOLBOY KU (@djku) September 30, 2020
What is up with Trump's arm yanking Melania?— gk (@gkmcesquire) September 30, 2020