Donald Trump once again made a highly controversial statement yesterday at a public question and answer session in Rochester, New Hampshire. What follows is a partial body language analysis.
Trump pointed [with an index finger, palm-down point with his left (non-dominant) hand] to a man in the audience and said: “Okay, this man. I like this guy.”
Man in Audience: “We have a problem in this country, it’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one [Trump nodding his head up and down]."
Trump [over-talking]: “Right [continues to nod]."
Man in Audience [over-talking]: "You know, he’s not even an American."
Trump [over-talking]: “We need this question [looks away, palm-up with opposite hand-arm asking for the audience's acknowledgement and approval]"
Man in Audience [over-talking]: "Birth certificate, man."
Trump [over-talking]: "This is the first question [laughing]”
Man in Audience: “But any way, we have training camps growing - where they want to kill us.”
Trump: “Um hmm,”
Man in Audience: “That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?”
Trump [over-talking]: “We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things - and you know, a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying - that bad things are happening out there. We’re going to look at that and plenty of other things.”
Donald Trump has been widely criticized for not correcting the questioner as to President Barack Obama's nationality or his religion - as well as to the alleged presence of any "training camps" in the United States. Mr. Trump's campaign staff said that he didn't hear the question - yet there is not any type of nonverbal signal typically associated with any difficulty hearing. As can be clearly seen, Mr. Trump nods his head up and down in acknowledgement as well as making very overt verbal affirmations and even forms of celebrations - with laughter.
In the image below, eleven of the more dramatic facial expressions of various audience members have been captured and isolated (This was imaged from a different video which affords a more complete audience view. However the video above is slightly different and gives us lengthier capture, more audio, etc. Together they allow a more complete and accurate recounting of these moments).
A. Woman with mouth of fear
B. Man, eyelids open wide, slack-jawed. Surprise/Disbelief,
C. Woman, Eyes wide open, surprise with some fear component
D. Woman, Eyes wide open - fear and surprise, beginning of mouth of fear
E. Man, Disgust and Disbelief, recoiling with body, head and neck. Central eyebrows elevated.
There's also a component of anger
F. Man, Anger, Eyelids wide open, central eyebrows lowered
G. Man, Disbelief, Shaking his head side to side, recoiling, narrow eyelid openings [see below]
H. Man, Prolonged and pronounced fear evident in widely opened eyes and classic mouth of fear
I. Man, Surprise-shock, eyes opened wide, slack-jawed
J. Woman, Some surprise, beginning fear-mouth [see below]
K. Woman, Similar to H, Widely opened eyelids with mouth of fear
J. Woman, a more complete expression of fear with widely opened eyes and yet another classic mouth of fear
G. Man, A near complete eyelid closure, shaking his head side-to-side in disbelief of what he's just seen and heard. He's emotionally processing what's just transpired.
While there are other expressions here and some subtler changes seen in these video segments, this spotlighting demonstrates the surprise-shock, disbelief, disgust, anger and fear which some of the audience members were clearly were feeling. It also clearly shows that Donald Trump heard and understood the question clearly.
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