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. Has 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 a little help - as possible soooooo ....
MATT LAUER: Are you nervous?
MELANIA TRUMP: No-
MATT LAUER: It would be okay to be nervous.
MELANIA TRUMP: I'm excited.
MATT LAUER: Yeah?
MELANIA TRUMP: Yeah. It's exciting night.
MATT LAUER: What do you want to tell the delegates, Mrs. Trump, about your husband, that they haven't learned in the last year?
MELANIA TRUMP: Well I will tell it in the speech - and, ahhh, he's ah, an amazing -
DONALD TRUMP: Yeah
MATT LAUER: Yeah, she looks good, she's learned a lot from you. That was really good. Go ahead, continue.
MELANIA TRUMP [over-talking]: Soooo, he's an amazing guy, and ah, he really wants to bring ah, America to the next level.
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.
Note that on multiple occasions, Lauer refers to Mrs. Trump as if she wasn't there - in the third person:
"... Your wife is going to get to speak to the delegates ..."
"... Had she gone over the speech with you?"
"... Yeah, she looks good ..."
"... she's learned a lot from you ..."
This last example is also particularly patronizing.
Notice too, Lauer interrupts Mrs. Trump on multiple occasions.
Now flash back to the very beginning of Lauer's interview - he's leaning on the back of a seat. While this may appear to be an attempt at being casual - this dynamic is Lauer's baseline behavior of trying to assert dominance when it's out-of-context.
Focusing on Melania, during 1:14, she 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, blinks, and looks slightly down. Looking in this quadrant in right-hand dominant individuals is very often correlated with 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.
Matt Lauer's verbal, nonverbal, and paralanguage behavior are not only rude - these are classic manifestations of narcissism, invasion of personal (intimate) space/false affection, and misogyny.
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