Is This The Real Reason Melania Trump Swatted Donald Trump's Hand Away?

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It was the hand swat we could not stop talking about. As CNN reported, in 2017, then First Lady Melania Trump swatted her husband's hand away when President Donald Trump attempted to hold hers when they arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife. Twitter was still buzzing about the awkward incident years later, with one person tweeting in January of 2021, "I'm gonna miss watching Melania swat back Donald's hand in every public moment. #InaugurationDay." Someone else joked in 2018, "Is there a band called Melania Hand Swat yet? If not, there should be."

Of course, given the very public seeming rebuke, rumors would swirl that the hand swat was just another sign that the Trumps' marriage was in trouble. Again. Other sources speculated the hand swat signaled a far less telling meaning, with Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a friend of the Slovania native, telling The Washington Post in 2018, "She is a dignified, private person, and she'll deal with her personal life in private and it's no one's business. They are not that couple that holds hands just because; she is old-world European and it's not who she is" (via Biography).

But now, years later, and with a new president in office, former chief of staff for Melania Trump, Stephanie Grisham, has written a book, "I'll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House," which offers a new explanation for the viral swat (via Yahoo!).

Stephanie Grisham says the hand swat happened due to protocol

SheKnows obtained an expert, and reported that in Grisham's widely-buzzed-about tome, she recounts the hand swat incident in Israel, noting, "At one point, while they were walking together down the red carpet, President Trump was a few steps ahead of Mrs. Trump. He reached out and slightly behind him with his left hand, apparently to try to take Mrs. Trump's right hand. Without breaking her stride and with a flick of her wrist, she appeared to swat his hand away and kept walking...." (via Yahoo!).

So why did the former model not want to hold the commander-in-chief's hand during this very public moment? As Grisham writes, "For those who care to know, Mrs. Trump 'slapped' her husband's hand away that day because she thought it was against protocol to hold hands at such a formal ceremony." 

As Yahoo! recounts, Grisham calls Melania "a rule follower." She also claims that the former president "often tried to hold her hand or messed with her hands on purpose in front of the camera to irritate her." 

The Trumps are not big on PDA

Indeed, some iteration of the 2017 hand swat was something we witnessed several times throughout Trump's presidency, with another Yahoo! story recounting six separate times the former president's third wife seemingly rejected his advances via a hand hold or a hug, or placing his arm around her — and of course all of these instances were caught on camera and widely dissected on social media by both supporters and those who were not fans of the Trumps (via Independent).

It's important to note there were times the Trumps held hands. One occasion in particular, People tweeted about in 2018: "No Swat Here! Melania Trump Reaches for the President's Hand Before His Visit with the Queen."

In October of 2020, Express reported on the couple holding hands at a campaign event in Florida, as well as their public displays of affection that day, including an embrace and a kiss. Meanwhile, in February of 2020, Fabiosa also published a story about a "tender" moment between the Trumps, who have been married since 2005.

Melania Trump will reportedly support a 2024 presidential run

Why are these moments in which Melania and Donald kissed or hugged or showed one another affection newsworthy? It seems the Trumps are not a married couple who is big on PDA, with the International Business Times suggesting this changed once they moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Indeed, pre-politics, the outlet notes Donald and Melania were more of a lovey-dovey duo.

It's also noteworthy that not every couple is big on public displays of affection. But that fact never stopped detractors from focusing on the hand swats or interpreting them to mean the Trumps were on the verge of a divorce. 

Most recently, however, Politico reported that an insider confirmed the couple would put on a united front if the New York native runs for a second term in 2024, with the source saying that Melania "will be right there" by her husband's side. Whether she'll swat his hand away again remains to be seen!