Monday, August 17, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3281: Donald Trump on "Meet The Press" - Who Does He Talk to for Military Advice? - Body Language Tells (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Donald Trump was a guest on "Meet The Press" on Sunday. When Chuck Todd asked him where the poll-leading republican presidential candidate gets his military advice, Trump's answer was a surprise to many. Two (of the many) nonverbal signals associated with this segment of the Q & A - provide some excellent nonverbal teaching moments.

A friendly reminder: This website serves as an objective reference source for the science and art of Body Language /Nonverbal Communication. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc. are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts – not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.

The following dialog begins at the 7:45 mark in the above interview.

Chuck Todd:  Who do you, ah, talk to for military advice, right now?

Donald Trump: Well, I watch the shows.  I mean, I really see a lot of great - you know, when you watch your show - and all of the other shows and you have the generals and -

Chuck Todd: So you do the -

Donald Trump: And you have certain people that you like -

Chuck Todd: But is there a go-to for you?  You know - [inhaling hiss with fear expression]

Donald Trump: Ah, probably there are -

Chuck Todd: - every presidential -

Donald Trump: - two or three -

Chuck Todd: - candidate has a go-to -

Donald Trump: Yeah, probably there are two or three.  I mean, I like Bolton.  I think he's, you know, a tough cookie, knows what he's talking about. Ah, Jacobs is a good guy -

Chuck Todd: Do you mean Ambassador John Boton (misspeak), Bolton? 

Donald Trump: Yes.  I think he's terrific -

Chuck Todd: You mean Colonel Jack Jacobs? [over-talking]

Donald Trump: Colonel Jack Jacobs is a good guy.  And I see him - on occasion.  Um, I actually had dinner - I was given a very high award by the Marines at the Waldorf

Chuck Todd: Hmmm

Donald Trump: Astoria a couple of months ago. And your new head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the head Marine, 

Chuck Todd: Yeah

Donald Trump: - was a very impressive guy. He just got appointed.  I think that he will do

Chuck Todd: You hear good things (over-talking) 

Donald Trump:  a terrific job.

The following six images are all from one partial sentence of Trump's, "Well, I watch the shows.  I mean, I really see a lot of great - you know, when you watch your show - and all of the other shows and you have the generals and - "

7:48 as Trump says, "... I really see a lot ..."


"... of great - you know ..."


"... you watch your ..."


"... your show - and ..."

(a continuum from above)


"... other shows and ..."


"... have the generals and ..."

As discussed in a previous post, when a relative alpha personality or a person in alpha context (e.g., where the other people are perceived as relative beta personalities or in beta rolls) - one common manifestation of his/her relative higher status are exaggerated mouth and lip movements. Moreover, those who display this nonverbal pattern chronically have an extremely high incidence of narcissistic personality disorder (although not all narcissists will display this body language). Trump's progression of this lip-mouth movement nonverbal can be easily seen to have progressed over the last several decades (thus one manifestation of progressing narcissism).

Intriguingly this nonverbal tell can shed even further light on Trump's thought-emotion. The frequency and amplitude of this hyperbolic lip-mouth configuration is proportional to the effort put forth to convince an audience. Said another way, the more often and more exaggerated this mouth display is seen - the harder he's trying to convince you he's correct. And when a person is trying harder to convince you - most of the time it's because they don't believe it themselves.

Below we see captured in another very telling body language moment - for when Chuck presses Donald for specific names - Trump transmits trepidation.


Inhaling Hissing with partial (mouth) Fear expression

This occurs just after Chuck Todd says, "But is there a go-to for you?  You know - " and just prior to Donald Trump saying, "Ah, probably there are - "

This variety of fear expression is not indicative of physical danger - but captures social-fear and hesitancy to disclose or act in a certain manner. This display telegraphs a fear of social repercussions and indicates that although Mr. Trump may know (or has met) John Bolton and/or Colonel Jack Jacobs (as well as the Marine whose name he did not recall - presumably Joseph Dunford [Moreover, notice Trump's use of the words, "... your new head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ..."? He did not say "the" or "our". This is very significant.]) - we can say with a very high degree of confidence that Trump almost certainly did not seek their military advice.

Update: Jack Jacobs went on record stating he has never spoken with Donald Trump about anything related to national security and is not an adviser to Trump.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3280: Jeb Bush, Iowa State Fair and the ability to Change the Minds' of Voters

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3272: Donald Trump, Megyn Kelly, Deception and Misogyny

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2964: Eric Holder Interview After Announcing Resignation - Microexpressions and other Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3138: Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes, "God She's Beautiful"