Mr Modi swooped in for two big bear hugs with the US President during their joint statements in the Rose Garden, wrapping his arms around Mr Trump’s midsection and ending their first embrace with a lingering handshake that stretched the President’s arm between their two lecterns.
After wrapping up his own remarks, the Indian Prime Minister hugged his US counterpart a second time, placing his head close to the President’s shoulder in video that quickly spread around social media.
Mr Modi offered yet another embrace as he departed the White House. After shaking Mr Trump’s hand, Mr Modi went in for a third and final public hug — resting his head first near Mr Trump’s left shoulder, then near his right. The President welcomed the parting gesture, patting Mr Modi on the back
Mr Trump welcomed Mr Modi to the White House for their first in-person meeting and both sought to convey warm relations between the two global powers.
The President said he had lived up to his campaign promise to give India “a true friend in the White House” and announced that daughter Ivanka Trump had accepted an invitation to visit India this fall.
For his part, Mr Modi cited Mr Trump’s “vast and successful experience in the business world” and even gave a shout-out to the Trump campaign mantra of “making America great again”.
Mr Trump is a self-admitted germaphobe who preferred tossing his trademark red baseball caps into crowds at campaign rallies over shaking numerous hands along the rope line. But he has been willing to express America’s special relationship with a select few.
When he welcomed British Prime Minister Theresa May to the White House in late January, Mr Trump ignited a tabloid frenzy in Great Britain when the two leaders held hands as they walked along the White House colonnade.
Britain’s Daily Express proclaimed, “Hand in Hand United We Stand”.
And when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s sedan pulled into the West Wing in February, Mr Trump greeted Mr Abe with a hug, a display of public affection rarely seen among leaders in Japan.
Later, in the Oval Office, the President sent social media abuzz when his handshake with Abe lasted a full 19 seconds.
“I shook hands but I grabbed him and hugged him because that’s the way we feel,” Mr Trump said at a joint news conference, describing the embrace with Mr Abe.
“We have a very, very good bond — very, very good chemistry,” he said.
The US President treated Mr Modi to cocktails and dinner at the White House on Monday night after their meeting, and shared a laugh when he pointed to their social media dominance.
Mr Trump’s @realdonaldtrump Twitter handle has more than 32 million followers, while a further 19 million follow the official @POTUS account. Mr Modi has more than 31 million followers.
Mr Trump playfully said he was “proud to announce” that “Prime Minister Modi and I are world leaders in social media — we’re believers — giving the citizens of our countries the opportunity to hear directly from their elected officials, and for us to hear directly from them”.
“I guess it’s worked very well in both cases,” Mr Trump said.
Source: ABC News