Before becoming President of the United States, Donald J. Trump was a nationally renowned businessman who was successful despite his aversion to one common business practice: The handshake.
Now that he's in the White House, Trump has to utilize his secret weapon countless times with world and national leaders.
On Friday, Trump made headlines with a reportedly “super akward” 19-second handshake with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe done as a photo-op. Watch... if you dare:
What wasn't reported as widely, however, was Trump nailing a version of the handshake known as the “hand hug”:
This raises the important question: What were the times that Donald Trump got the handshake right? And what led to his mastery of the symbolic gesture known for signifying the “art of the deal”?
The real estate billionaire once revealed in a 1999 interview with Dateline that he's “not a big fan of shaking hands.”
Despite his self-described “germophobia” (the clinical term is mysophobia), The Donald has sustained a career in business, media, and now, politics while bearing the cross of having to shake people's hands.
Even though Donald Trump considers shaking hands to be a “barbaric” practice, he's mastered every type of handshake conceivable, as will be demonstrated below.
The following are the 20 badass handshakes in President Trump's arsenal that he can deploy at any time in The White House, should he so choose. Ready? Let's begin.
1. The Crusher
What better way to send the message that you're the dominator in a relationship than with a good old-fashioned “bone crusher” handshake?
This handshake signals confidence and strength, and is common among those people with an “overly aggressive personality.” Unruly tea party type thinking about getting out-of-line? Send in “the crusher.”
2. The Hand Hug
A popular move among politicians is the “hand hug.” This is when the handshake artist places his hand on top of the other person's hand and cradles it gently, usually during a brief conversation or while passing by in a meet-and-greet.
3. The “Queen's Fingertips”
This handshake is commonly used in female-to-male encounters. The woman extends her hand, often at a distance, with fingers pointing downwards. It is often used to convey superiority in a relationship — the hand placement in the top position is the key — much like with a “queen.”
Trump brushes by the “queen's fingertips” handshake to grasp the hand as a sign of geniality and warmth.
4. The “Dead Fish”
At times, you might run into the dreaded “dead fish” handshake — an awkward moment for everyone involved. If someone's hand is cold and clammy, it's never a pleasant exchange, while a handshake that is loose and “low energy” may indicate a weak or feckless personality.
Also, if someone's handshake “creeps” up another person's wrist or arm, it can mean that he wants something.
Long considered to be offensive in many cultures and rude in Western societies, pointing can signal dominance or a warning to one's interlocutor.
6. The Dominator
When the palm of the handshake is pointed downwards and the grip is firm, it is a “dominator” handshake that signifies superiority.
7. The Fly-By
When attending meet-and-greets and you have dozens of people's hands to shake, you may want to skip the formalities and just “buzz the tower.”
8. Palm's Up
According to Speechmastery, the “palm's up” handshake says, “I am here to serve you.” It is considered a submissive gesture that means “feel free to take charge.”
When hands are close to parallel in a handshake, it is a sign of equanimity in business dealings. This is considered to be a proper “business handshake,” especially when two people meet for the first time.
10. Finger Vice
This extra-firm handshake is described by iDiva as a power-move pulled by “insecure” people. As the website cautions: “If they also crush your fingers they are adding a show of personal power, which is also designed to keep you at a distance.”
10. American Gladiator
Nobody said shaking hands was easy. There may be times when you have to go “American Gladiator” and power through any obstacle in your way.
11. Lobster Claw
The lobster claw is a handshake when the thumb and fingers are positioned over a person's hand like a claw or pair of pincers. iDiva says: “The person doing this fears connecting at a deep level and may have challenges building relationships.”
12. The Pusher
When someone wishes to blow by a handshake, it might be time to whip out “the pusher,” or as it is also called, “The Please Keep Back.” This handshake makes it clear “you ain't got time for that,” and is even deadlier with arm fully extended and elbow locked.
13. The Puller
On the flipside of “the pusher” is “the puller,” otherwise known as “the controller.” This is a handshake of a controlling person, especially when the handshake is combined with a pull towards a certain direction. A notorious variant is the “yank and pull,” which has the reputation of being a “power play” used by “manipulative” people.
14. Eyes Down
It is considered standard business practice to deliver a handshake with head up and solid eye contact. When one lowers his eyes during a handshake, it is considered to be a sign that the person is intimidated and seeks to avoid conflict.
15. Side Shake
This handshake is most often used during photo-ops and while on television. Any other use of this handshake is believed to be extremely awkward.
16. Bro Shake
When a standard handshake just won't do, accept no substitutes. Instead of extending hand out, you mix up the game and lock thumbs. Sometimes this is followed by a “shoulder bump” or “chest bump.”
This handshake is carried out for an extended period of time. It is considered to be a sign of warmth and geniality.
Advanced: These moves are only for handshake masters. Do not try these at home.
A difficulty of 6/10. The hand is extended outwards with palm up. The bro involved blows by the handshake to drop a bomb-ass low-five.
Difficulty level 7.5/10. A high five is flipped into a bro-shake at the last second. If you want to see this handshake deconstructed with science, check out Benny Johnson's breakdown.
These 20 handshakes are the tools of the pros. No one expects you to learn them all right away. But if you practice, practice, practice, you too can become a handshake master like The Donald.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated after publication.