Earlier today, President Trump held a press conference in the Rose Garden. Along with Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell he took questions on a wide range of topics.
From a body language perspective, it's noteworthy that Donald Trump touched his face several times during this event. One of these moments is highlighted here. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis.
JOURNALIST (beginning at 19:48): Why haven't we heard anything from you so far about the soldiers that were killed in Niger? What do you have to say about (OFF-MIKE)?
PRESIDENT TRUMP (beginning at 19:52): Ah, I've written them personal letters. Ah, they've been sent, or they're going out tonight, but they were - nt [stutter] written during the weekend. Ah, I will, at some point during the - the period of time, call the parents and ah, the families, because I have done that traditionally. Ah, I felt very, very badly about that. I always feel badly. It's m-, it's the toughest - the toughest calls I have to make - [deep inhalation] are the calls where, ah - this happens. Soldiers are killed. Ah, it's a very difficult thing. Now, it gets to a point - wherrrre, you know, you make four or five of them in one day - it's a very, very tough day. For me, that's - by far the toughest. So the traditional way - if you look at ah, President Obama and other presidents, ah, most of 'em - ah, didn't make calls. A lot of them didn't make calls. I like to call when it's appropriate, when I think I'm able to do it. Ah, they have made the ultimate sacrifice. So generally I would - say that I like to call. I'm going to be calling them. I want a little time to pass. I'm going to be calling them. I have - as you know, since I've been president, I have. Ah, but in addition, ah, I actually wrote letters individually to the, ah, soldiers we're talking about, and they're going to be going out - either today or tomorrow. Yes.
Several other questions were then asked and answered. A few minutes later, a follow-up question regarding calls to families of fallen soldiers was then asked.
PETER ALEXANDER (beginning at 29:13): “Mr. President, earlier you said that President Obama Never called the families of fallen soldiers. How can you make that claim?”
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t know if he did. No no no. Ah, I, I was, I was told that he didn’t often. And a lot of presidents don’t - they write letters. I do, excuse me - Peter. I do a combination of both. Ah, sometimes it's, it’s a very difficult thing to do, but I do a combination of both. Ah [stutter], President Obama, ah - I think probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn’t. I don’t know. That’s what I was told. All I can do, all I can do is ask my generals. Ah, other, other presidents did not call. They’d write letters. And some presidents didn’t do anything. But I like, I like the combination of – I like, when I can, the combination of a call and also a letter.
At 29:18, President Trump began reaching - and then (during 29:19 - 29:20) he rubbed/scratched just in front of his right ear with his right index finger as he said, "I don’t know if he did. No no no. Ah, I, I was, I was told that he didn’t often ..." (Image above).
It's a Nonverbal Axiom that in the context of a voicing a denial or affirmation, an ear scratch/rub or scratching/rubbing in front of the ear (but not behind) has a very high correlation with deception. This correlation is particularly strong when this nonverbal signal is displayed during a direct response to a question.
Summary: President Trump's nonverbal behavior in the above-mentioned segment indicates, with very high probability, that he was lying when he said, "I don’t know if he did. No no no. Ah, I, I was, I was told that he didn’t often. And a lot of presidents don’t - they write letters" and thus also when he said, "The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls. A lot of them didn’t make calls..."
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