Trump and Macron cap first meeting with lengthy handshake

The greeting lasted over 5.2 seconds.

— -- For over five seconds, the presidents of two of the world's most powerful countries gripped and shook each other's hands with an amount of force uncommon for the ritual -- an action some are interpreting to be symbolic of their budding relationship's dynamic.

U.S. President Donald Trump and newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron met for the first time as they convened at a NATO summit in Belgium, and, as is tradition in the Western world, shook hands at the conclusion of remarks in front of reporters.

The shake lasted over 5.2 seconds and included an unsuccessful attempt by Trump at one point to release himself from his counterpart's grasp.

Trump's hesitancy to engage in such a lengthy series of ups and downs may stem from his aversion to the gesture. He has previously commented that he is "not a big fan of the handshake," though has regularly and publicly participated in them since launching his bid for the presidency almost two years ago.

"I think it's barbaric," said Trump on "Later Today" in 1999. "I mean, they have medical reports all the time. Shaking hands, you catch colds, you catch the flu, you catch this. You catch all sorts of things. Who knows what you don't catch?"

During a January press conference prior to his inauguration in which he refuted unsubstantiated claims about his conduct during a trip to Russia included in an intelligence dossier that had been leaked to the public, Trump again shared his position.

"I'm also very much of a germaphobe, by the way," said Trump.