Men and handshakes, amirite?


Wednesday, May 25, 2017
President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron shake hands ahead of a working lunch at the US ambassador’s residence, on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels Thursday. Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Men and Handshakes, Amirite?: Trump’s latest buzzworthy handshake, this time with Macron

Election Day Front Pages: The body slam makes A1 across Montana

Not Your Typical War Movie: An interview with Netflix’s “War Machine” director David Michôd

Kate Bennett

What the White House is Talking About:
NATO. Full stop.

What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:
Chronicling President Donald Trump’s first visit to NATO, which he’s called “obsolete,” taking place in Brussels, which he’s called a “hellhole.” 

Also keeping an eye on Trump’s meeting with Angela Merkel. The German Chancellor first met with Barack Obama today in Berlin a separate, pre-planned discussion about politics. Scorecard: Obama’s her buddy, Trump was the guy who didn’t want to shake her hand in the Oval Office. In fairness, Trump and Merkel have spoken on the phone several times since that White House visit.  

Men and Handshakes, Amirite?:
Trump, as we know, see above, is pretty into his handshaking. Whether he’s not doing it, or doing it too hard — it’s his thing. This morning in Brussels, he and new French President Emmanuel Macron greeted one another and this happened:

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

It was apparently so intense, today’s print pool reporter, Philip Rucker of the Washington Post, described it like this:

Our Daily Melania:
On arrival yesterday in Brussels, Melania Trump participated in a presentation about child abuse and exploitation with Queen Mathilde of Belgium. Today she’s expected to visit the Magritte Museum, and with the other NATO spouses, make a stop at the Belgium leather house of Delvaux. Then it’s a to visit the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, with Queen Mathilde, before meeting back up with the president and other leaders for a big dinner thing. The greenhouses look amazing. 
Earlier today Melania stopped at the Children’s Hospital Queen Fabiola and did some arts and crafts with the sick children. Also, adorable selfies. 
Credit: Aurore Belot/Getty Images
The first lady’s tan leather suit (with belt, because Melania loves belts!) is insanely good and the White House tells me it’s made by Belgian design house Maison Ullens. I’m going to rank all of her outfits from the trip when it’s over and this one is definitely a contender. 

Our Daily Melania, Part Two:
Yesterday, when word spread via pool reports that the first lady had had her rosary blessed by the Pope, it was clear she was likely Catholic. I got confirmation that, yep, she is. This means Melania will be the first White House Roman Catholic since the Kennedys. And it also could explain all of the instances of what appears to be her deep and abiding faith; she opened a rally for the President by reciting the Lord’s Prayer, and she has never given a speech without asking for prayer for people, or closed without a “God bless.”  

A-List Actors Invade Washington Post Newsroom, Journos Freak: 
I would, too, though, if Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Meryl Streep were chilling in our newsroom. The three Hollywood heavyweights were at the Post this morning to observe and do research for their upcoming movie, “The Post,” about the Pentagon Papers episode. 
Credit: @andrewjh/twitter 

Ivanka and Jared Depart Trip:
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner peeled off from the trip after the Rome leg, heading back to Washington, according to a White House official, to return to work in the West Wing. Here’s a parting photo Ivanka posted on her Insta with the caption, “Goodbye Rome. Thank you!”

Credit: @IvankaTrump/instagram

Dress Like the First Lady: 
I’m beginning to have a whole new appreciation for tailored, belted coats, like this Michael Kors blue checkered one Melania wore yesterday, arriving in Belgium. 

Credit: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images
If you must have it, the good news is it’s on sale, the bad news is it’s only left in a size 2. 
Credit: MichaelKors.com

The first lady has worn Michael Kors before on this trip; the white belted jacket she wore with a skirt in Israel was his. Kors told the New York Times after Melania wore his sequined black skirt suit to the President’s address to Congress a few months back that she’s been a longtime client at his New York boutique and that she has a “keen understanding” of what looks best on her — not exactly a ringing endorsement, and he also made it clear that he didn’t have anything to do with that selection. If he was enthusiastic about dressing Melania, Kors, who was a big Hillary Clinton supporter, would probably post about her on his Twitter feed, as he does with pretty much every other notable woman who wears his designs.

Hunter Schwarz

What Washington is Talking About:
The body slam.

What America is Talking About:
The Milwaukee woman who jumped on the hood of her car in the middle of a carjacking. I’m still gasping over this footage.

Election Day Front Pages:
Several Montana newspapers have pulled their endorsement of Republican House candidate Greg Gianforte, who’s been charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly body slamming a reporter last night. Here are some front pages Montana voters are seeing this morning as they head to the polls for today’s special election:

Credit: Newseum

The Trump Campaign Thank You Plaque:
Longtime Trump family friend Lynne Patton shared this photo of a plaque thanking her for her work on the campaign that says “Make America great again” no fewer than three times:

Credit: @lynnepatton/Instagram

Not Your Typical War Movie:
“War Machine,” a movie about a fictional US general’s efforts to end the war in Afghanistan starring Brad Pitt and based on a book by one of my all-time favorite journalists and authors, the late Michael Hastings, about real-life US Gen. Stanley McChrystal, debuts tomorrow on Netflix.

I spoke to the director, David Michôd, who called it “part dark goofball comedy.” Pitt plays Gen. Glen McMahon, who comes to Afghanistan to do what no one else has been able to do — end the war — but faces roadblocks in the form of politics and military bureaucracy. Taking place during the height of Gagamania in the US, the would-be rockstar general is interviewed for a Rolling Stone profile, and if you’re unfamiliar with how the real-life Rolling Stone profile turned out, you’ll have to watch to find out (spoiler alert: Gaga made the cover that month, not the general).

Credit: Netflix

Michôd said the style of this and similar films are “a kind of sharp form of criticism of the ways in which wars are fought” and that he finds it “deeply unsettling” that we barely talk about the war in Afghanistan any more.

“I think the fact that we have become as a society so divorced from what our military is doing that we can send our young men and women into harm’s way without it being newsworthy on a daily basis is unsettling and I think it’s unhealthy for a society,” he said.

Credit: Francois Duhamel/Netflix

I asked what him his thoughts on the decision President Trump faces on sending more troops to Afghanistan since making the film, and he said, “I can’t believe that coming up to 16 years in, we’re contemplating a surge of this nature.”

“What is it exactly that’s going to happen this time that didn’t happen at any point in the past 15 years?” he said. “It seems patently absurd to me to be contemplating this. The circularity, the perpetual motion of that delusion is extraordinary.”

“It can’t really be addressed with firepower,” he said. So what does he think would work? “Sitting down at a table and talking. As wet as that sounds, at a certain point you almost have to start undoing that stuff that the military has gotten so good at which is completely dehumanizing the enemy.”

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COVER/LINE is where politics meets pop culture. From CNN’s Hunter Schwarz and Kate Bennett, this daily newsletter is the must-read lunch date in Washington and beyond.
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