Last night at the Republican Convention did Melania Trump know she was reading a speech which, in part, was plagiarized from Michelle Obama's speech at the 2008 Democratic Convention? Did she write the speech or did she have help? If so, was that a little help or was it a considerable amount? What follows is a partial body language analysis of Melania Trump and Donald Trump in an interview with Matt Lauer yesterday morning.
At 0:59 in the above video Matt Lauer continues, "One part of that campaign ends in that hall tonight - another part begins. Your wife is going to get to speak to the delegates ..."
Donald Trump: "Right."
Matt Lauer: "About you. Had she gone over the speech with you? Did you practice it on the plane?"
Melania Trump: "I read once over it, and that's all - because I wrote it and ah, li- [stutter], with as little help as possible soooooo ...."
Matt Lauer: "Are you nervous? It would be okay to be nervous."
Melania Trump: "I'm a little nervous."
Matt Lauer: "Yeah?"
Melania Trump: "Yeah. It's exciting night."
Matt Lauer touching Melania Trump on the arm (during 1:10 as he says, "... practice ...) is an invasion of her personal (intimate space) and is one signal of false affection. It also is highly consistent with narcissism (and, although not applicable here, it's a behavior that's commonly displayed by those on the Autism Spectrum).
Note that on two occasions, Lauer also referred to Mrs. Trump as if she wasn't there - "... Your wife is going to get to speak to the delegates ..." and "... Had she gone over the speech with you?"
During 1:14, Melania shrugs her left shoulder and rotates her torso toward Donald as she says,
"... that's all ..."
A shoulder shrug indicates, "I don't care"/"What does it matter?", "I don't know", or "What could I do?/What choice did I have?"
During 1:15 as she says, "... because I wrote it and ...", Melania looks to her right and slightly down. Looking in this quadrant in right-hand dominant individuals is very often correlated with an emotional overtones of sadness, regret and other forms of emotional discomfort. For her to look in this direction (and AWAY from Lauer) the instant she says "... I ...", strongly implies deception.
Just as she says, "... and ah, li- [stutter], with ...", Melania looks down to her left. Gaze in this direction in most right handed people is very often associated with "internal dialog" (e.g., here deciding how to phrase an answer).
Importantly, Melania is also stuttering and again, she's looking away from Lauer.
Also of profound significance here is Donald Trump's body language. The instant after Melania says, "... because I wrote it ..." - HE TURNS AWAY. Donald Trump knew his wife was lying. Note he keeps his same facial expression - but we see a change manifested elsewhere on his body. This is an excellent example of what in nonverbal parlance is termed "Leakage".
As Melania says, "... with as little help as possible soooooo ....", both the pitch and volume of her voice increase, she leans forward with her head, neck and torso (a "Neck Stretch"), with a Self-Righteous Head Wiggle display, her eyebrows elevate and her forehead contracts across its entire width and also elevates. In addition she ends her sentence with the stretched-out word, "... soooooo ...". This nonverbal-verbal-paralanguage cluster is highly consistent with deception. She is emotionally uncomfortable talking about her upcoming speech and wants Lauer to change the subject.
Summary: While this analysis cannot directly discern any intent of plagiarism on her part (or her speech writer's), Melania Trump did lie when she said she had "... as little help as possible ..." writing her speech - and Donald Trump knew she was lying.
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