Macron says his white-knuckle handshake with Trump was 'not innocent'

France's newly elected president, Emmanuel Macron, called his famous white-knuckle handshake with U.S. President Donald Trump ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels "a moment of truth."

Macron acknowledged to a local French outlet that his intense handshake-off with Trump "wasn't innocent," but instead was symbolic of an effort to show resolve.

RELATED: President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron

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U.S. President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron before a working lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Dejong/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump greets French President Emmanuel Macron before a lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and France's President Emmanuel Macron shake hands before a working lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump jokes with French President Emmanuel Macron about their handshakes in front of NATO leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (2ndR) and Belgium King Philippe (L), at the start of the NATO summit at their new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A combination photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump (L) trying twice to let go of a handshake with France's President Emmanuel Macron (R) as Macron holds tight, before a working lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) meets French President Emmanuel Macron before a working lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Dejong/Pool
US President Donald Trump (R) talks with French President Emmanuel Macron as they attend the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, the group of most industrialized economies, plus the European Union, on May 26, 2017 in Taormina, Sicily. The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and Italy will be joined by representatives of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia during the summit from May 26 to 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) meets French President Emmanuel Macron before a working lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Dejong/Pool
US President Donald Trump (L) and US First Lady Melania Trump (C) speak with French President Emmanuel Macron (R) as they arrive for a concert of the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra during the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, the group of most industrialized economies, plus the European Union, on May 26, 2017 at the ancient Greek Theater in Taormina, Sicily. The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and Italy will be joined by representatives of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia during the summit from May 26 to 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / PHILIPPE WOJAZER (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump attend the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, the group of most industrialized economies, plus the European Union, on May 26, 2017 in Taormina, Sicily. The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and Italy will be joined by representatives of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia during the summit from May 26 to 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump meets French President Emmanuel Macron in New York, U.S., September 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump meets French President Emmanuel Macron in New York, U.S., September 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump as First Lady Melania Trump looks on after the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump speak with French army general Bruno Le Ray, military governor of Paris, at the end of the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump attend the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 14: U.S President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron during the traditional Bastille day military parade on the Champs-Elysees on July 14, 2017 in Paris France. Bastille Day, the French National day commemorates this year the 100th anniversary of the entry of the United States of America into World War I (Photo by Antoine Gyori/Corbis via Getty Images)
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"One must show that you won't make small concessions, even symbolic ones, but also not over-publicize things, either," Macron told Le Journal du Dimanche, according to the Associated Press.

A clip of the handshake between the two world leaders Thursday went immediately viral, with both sets of knuckles appearing white from the pressure.

While the French president sought to show strength in his interaction with Trump last week, he spoke fondly of him after a Group of Seven summit in Italy on Saturday, where he praised Trump's "capacity to listen."

SEE ALSO: Emmanuel Macron appears to swerve Trump's handshake at NATO to hug Angela Merkel instead

"I saw a leader with strong opinions on a number of subjects, which I share in part — the fight against terrorism, the willingness to keep our place in the family of nations — and with whom I have disagreements that we spoke about very calmly," Macron said.

"I saw someone who listens and who is willing to work," he added.

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