Indonesian Info Minister Claims He Shook Michelle Obama’s Hand Against His Will; Video Shows Otherwise
Indonesia’s information minister, Tifatul Sembiring, says it wasn’t his choice to shake hands with First Lady Michelle Obama during the presidential visit, because he says he avoids contact with women who aren’t relatives. Sembiring told his Twitter followers, “I tried to prevent (being touched) with my hands but Mrs. Michelle held her hands too far toward me (so) we touched.”
In footage of the official welcome, Sembiring appeared to share his countrymen’s enthusiasm. He smiled broadly as he shook the president’s hand and then reached with both hands to grasp Michelle Obama’s. But later he said she forced their contact.
His denial was in a response to tweets from Indonesians who noted the handshake and questioned his long-standing claims that, as a good Muslim, he restricts his contact with women.
Sembiring has used his Twitter account to blame natural disasters on lack of morality and to make jokes about AIDS.