US President Donald Trump has spoken out about his relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron after his recent trip to Paris last week, saying the new leader is a "great guy" who "loves holding my hand."
In an exclusive interview with the New York Times on Wednesday (19 July), Trump said he has a "great relationship" with his French counterpart and described him as a "great guy."
"He's a great guy", Trump told NYT reporter Maggie Haberman. "Smart. Strong. Loves holding my hand."
"I've noticed," Haberman replied.
"People don't realise he loves holding my hand. And that's good, as far as that goes", Trump continued. "I mean, really. He's a very good person. And a tough guy, but look, he has to be. I think he is going to be a terrific president of France. But he does love holding my hand."
During the interview, Trump also called the Bastille Day parade "super-duper" and suggested that that US should have something similar making its way down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC someday.
Trump told reporters that has had "the best reviews on foreign land" so far. He also said Macron invited him to visit France for the Bastille Day celebrations in a phone call.
"It was fairly surprising", Trump said. "He [President Emmanuel Macron] called me and said, 'I'd love to have you there and honor you in France,' having to do with Bastille Day. Plus, it's the 100th year of the First World War. That's big. And I said yes. I mean, I have a great relationship with him. He's a great guy."
Trump's strange and lengthy handshake with Macron in Paris last week immediately went viral with many branding it "the most bizarre handshake" ever. Trump's previous prolonged, white-knuckled handshake with Macron in May also sent the Internet into overdrive as well.
"My handshake with him – it wasn't innocent," Macron told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, referring to his first handshake with the US president. "It's not the be-all and the end-all of a policy, but it was a moment of truth."
Meanwhile, Twitter pounced on Trump's latest wide-ranging NYT interview and remarks on his relationship with Macron, describing him as "creepy", "desperate" and "weird".
"All you can say is wtf", one person wrote. Another tweeted: "Trump is sort of creepy."
"The more you read this NYT piece, the more batshit it gets", journalist Rose Troup Buchanan tweeted.