Trump made history again, but he’s not alone.
Politics can be gross. Kissing can be gross. HD television can be gross. Put them all together, and you have a recipe for some incredibly awkward prime time television.
As viewers of the Republican National Convention recently learned, even as seasoned a TV star as Donald Trump is not immune. In an event otherwise dominated by physical gestures that flirted with the fascistic, Trump lightened the mood with an air kiss heretofore unseen by perhaps all Americans, conspicuously smooching the space directly in front of the eyes of running mate Mike Pence.
Social media—joined by the national media—pounced, of course. “Trump seemed to attempt to kiss his running mate on the forehead while shaking his hand but Pence stopped him short,” ABC News reported. “The move quickly drew its own hashtag, #airkiss, and its own Twitter account.”
Cutting-edge as the move may seem, there’s a long modern tradition of leering at convention-time kisses. Back in 2000, Al Gore was the source of ridicule for what appeared to be a ham fisted approach to show the country just how real his marriage with wife Tipper was, in contrast to the Clintons. And sure enough, a few years later they were separated, while Bill and Hillary carry on.
The Obamas and Bushes have given the country 16 years of seemingly happy and well-adjusted spousal partnerships but even then, seeing two of the world’s most visible people have even their small intimate moments analyzed by millions of armchair pundits can be incredibly awkard. And despite Trump’s moment in the sun, the crowning moment is yet to come. Like it or not, once again, all eyes will soon be on the Democrats’ big do, where the kiss of the year—or not—will belong to Hillary and Bill Clinton.