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May 19, 2019

SEE IT: President Trump in very awkward salute of North Korean general during summit

June 21, 2018
In video released by North Korea’s state media agency, Donald Trump can be seen awkwardly saluting an unnamed North Korean general. (KCNA)

When they go low, we go high — and when they go high, we go low.

Newly released video footage from North Korean state media showed an especially awkward exchange between President Trump and a North Korean general — which included a salute to the military man from the President Trump.

About halfway through the 42-minute program — complete with fantastical background music and bombastic narration from the country’s top broadcaster, Ri Chun-Hee — the President can be seen glad-handing several dignitaries and military officials.

Trump makes his way down the line, extending his hand to a North Korean general, who instead opts to salute.

Mutual confusion ensues.

Trump proceeds to return the salute, but at the same time, the general lowers his hand to return the President’s shake.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can be seen chuckling in the background as the duo sort out their greeting — one on a long list of awkward handshakes from the President. His exchanges with the likes of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Emmanuel Macron have spawned countless headlines, memes and gifs.

“My handshake with him, it’s not innocent,” Macron said of his first lengthy shake with Trump in Brussels more than a year ago. “It’s not the alpha and omega of politics, but a moment of truth.”

The salute was then followed with an awkward handshake
The salute was then followed with an awkward handshake (KCNA)

The North Korean video, which chronicles the meeting between Trump and Kim, aired on state-run television two days after the summit in Singapore and a day after Kim returned to Pyongyang. It provides an inside look at Kim’s trip, including his arrival in Singapore and his stay at the lavish St. Regis Singapore.

The President took some heat for the gesture, with many critics saying he went against protocol by saluting a foreign general.

CNN reported that Trump had been briefed on that protocol, and was told he should not salute members of the North Korean military.

“I’m not trying to be gratuitous or unfair but isn’t saluting a General from an enemy military sort of a big deal?” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) tweeted.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the action during her daily press briefing Thursday afternoon.

“It’s common courtesy, when a military official from another government salutes, that you return,” she said.

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