Last week the world seemed to gasp in unison at President Donald Trump’s unorthodox flattery towards French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife, Brigitte Macron (nee Trogneux).
As the Trumps and Macrons gathered at Napoleon Bonaparte’s tomb at the Hôtel Les Invalides, the U.S. President took a good look at the French First Lady before saying, “You’re in such good shape, such good physical shape. Beautiful!”
Commenting on women’s physical appearances is not unusual for Trump. He once interrupted the Irish Prime Minister to draw his attention to a reporter, saying she “has a nice smile on her face.” Not to mention the now infamous Access Hollywood recordings where Trump exchanged some distasteful remarks about women with Billy Bush.
Donald Trump’s opinions of female appearances have not always been favorable. The president recently tweeted disparaging comments about MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, as well as formerly referring to then-Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s face while implying nobody would vote for her.
Now it was the turn of Brigitte Macron to be subjected to Trump’s keen observations of the feminine form. The pair had awkwardly greeted each other earlier in the day, unsure whether to shake hands or to embrace one another. They eventually opted for the latter, complete with the traditional French “faire la bise,” or “peck on the cheek.”
Meanwhile, all the way Downunder, the foreign minister of another U.S. ally offered her personal take of the interaction between Brigitte and Trump.
While speaking on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s morning news show, Insiders, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told host Barrie Cassidy that she’d be “taken aback” if Trump were to approach her in the same way.
Cassidy repeated President Trump’s remarks to Brigitte Macron, “You’re in such good shape, such good physical shape, beautiful,” before asking Minister Bishop whether she would be “flattered or offended” if it had been her.
Bearing in mind the delicate diplomatic relations between Australia and America – after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hung up on Trump following a tense telephone conversation – Julie Bishop certainly didn’t mince her words in response to Cassidy’s question.
“I’d be taken aback, I think. It’s a rather interesting comment to make,” Bishop said. And then she delivered a subtle coup de grâce.
“I wonder if she could say the same of him?”
No holding back there, ‘ey Julie?
That’s when both BuzzFeed and SkyNews Australia host, Patricia Karvelas, declared that Bishop’s remarks are allegedly what “every woman in the world is thinking.”
Still on ABC’s Insiders, Barrie Cassidy tried to elicit more comments from Julie Bishop when he asked, “You find it a bit condescending then, in other words?”
It seems that is where the foreign minister decided to pull back a bit, in the interests of international relations, of course. “Oh, I’m not going to run a commentary on President Trump’s conversations with the French president about the French president’s wife,” Bishop said.
While members of the public and the media alike expressed varied opinions about President Trump’s reaction to Brigitte Macron, it was the clothing brand Reebok that responded in what may be regarded as the most creative way.
Reebok released a humorous infographic that playfully outlined the proper presidential etiquette when meeting with world leaders and their spouses.
The brand warned Trump that his behavior would’ve only been appropriate if he had been referring to an old toy that he rediscovered in his childhood home, not when dealing with important matters of international diplomacy.
With two-thirds of Australians allegedly opposing Trump’s presidency, it may come as no surprise that leaders of the southern Pacific country are miserly when it comes to complementing the U.S. commander in chief.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had barely settled back home after meeting Trump in Washington when he was recorded on video footage ridiculing his American ally. While speaking to a room full of Australian journalists, Turnbull reportedly made fun of U.S.-Russia relations, fake news and Trump’s signature “winning” slogan.
“The Donald and I, we are winning and winning and winning in the polls. We are! Not the fake polls! They’re the ones we’re not winning in. I have this Russian guy; it’s true; believe me it’s true.”
The reporters erupted with laughter, and Turnbull later went on national radio where he dismissed the incident as innocent humor, adding that “the butt of my jokes was myself.”
[Featured Image by Michel Euler/AP Images]