WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump, a self-described germaphobe, can’t seem to stop shaking hands — even in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic.
Trump was surrounded by several retail and health care industry executives on Friday as he announced he was declaring the virus outbreak a national emergency.
One by one, the president invited them to the lectern at the Rose Garden press conference to say a few words. He also shook several of their hands.
Public health officials have told Americans to avoid handshakes, as a key social distancing measure, to try to limit the spread of the virus.
But Trump, who acknowledges he tried to avoid shaking hands before jumping into politics, now seems to have a hard time not putting his hand out for a greeting.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon appeared to be moving away from Trump after saying a few words. But then Trump put out his hand for a handshake and McMillon obliged.
Walgreens President Richard Ashworth and Trump shared a hearty handshake before he walked away. Thomas Moriarty, executive vice president at CVS Health, also gave the president a handshake.
Bruce Greenstein, executive vice president and chief strategy and innovation officer at in-home healthcare services company LHC Group, threw the president for a curve.
He extended his forearm for an elbow bump. Trump initially stuck out his hand but then shifted to accommodate.
“Okay, I like that,” Trump said. “That’s good.”