The above image of Marco Rubio and Donald Trump shaking hands was captured during the recent Republican debate in North Charleston, South Carolina. The photo below was taken a fraction of a second earlier. Tonight the two republicans (along with Cruz, Bush, Kasich, Christie and Carson) are on a similar stage in New Hampshire - just three days prior to the 2016 Presidential primary there.
Politicians virtually always try to "out-alpha" each other when shaking hands. Note the Senator's right hand is on top of Trump's. Because Trump didn't fully turn toward Rubio - Trump's body configuration puts him at a natural disadvantage - allowing the other person's hand to be on top (the alpha position during a dominant handshake) as well as a weakened grip strength. This disadvantage is further amplified by Trump's near 90 degree twisting of his own right wrist - and is very beta.
Rubio also displays another very high-alpha handshake maneuver - by gripping Trump's right arm, just above his elbow with his left hand. Politicians perform this as a counter-move to dominate and subtly intimidate their opponents (Candidates often make the mistake of doing the same thing with those they meet on the campaign trail. In such a setting, they are committing a major faux pas of false intimacy by invading another person's intimate space. Corporate executives and other "leaders" often use the same nonverbals with their subordinates - and thus loose major rapport points by touching another person out-of-context. In each example, the "leaders" are completely unaware of their off-putting body language). It's very possible that in this particular example, Sen. Rubio is deliberately performing this left arm, elbow-gripping in an effort to prevent Mr. Trump from pulling his hand/arm (toward Trump's chest) - a hyper-dominant, intimidation handshake variation that this businessman has a history of doing.
The primary motion expressed on Rubio's face is that of partially-suppressed disgust.
Trump, of course, then performs the expected counter-maneuver of placing part of his left hand on top of Rubio's right hand in and effort to increase his alpha tone in this moment. Yet Donald makes a mistake here too, by only using the distal ends of his fingers - rather than placing his whole hand on top of Rubio's. Then he could have further sandwiched Marco's hand between his - and turned up his alpha even more by grabbing Rubio's right wrist. By touching with only his fingers - Trump lost an opportunity and comes off as demure.
This of course, is a not a normal or common situation for shaking hands - as the vast majority of the time a greeting should be sincere. This handshake however, is heavy with insincerity.
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