Saturday, July 16, 2016

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3625: Donald Trump Introduces Mike Pence as his "1st Choice" VP Pick (Not!) - Body Language Signs (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Although he made the announcement via Twitter yesterday, earlier today in New York City, Donald Trump officially introduced Mike Pence as his running mate. It's been widely reported that Trump wanted to back out of this choice at the 11th hour.

What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of this introduction.

In the video above, Trump begins, "I'd would like to introduce a man who I truly [left shoulder shrug] believe will be outstanding in every way ..."

During 0:03 - 0:04, note how Trump's left shoulder shrugs in a very quick and in dramatic fashion

A shoulder shrug is a nonverbal signal of: "What does it matter?", "I don't care", "I don't know"  or "What could I do/What choice did I have?"

A shrug may also involve the entire arm, the thumbs, mouth, knees and even the feet.

Trump finishes his sentence (continued immediately from above), "... and will be - the next - Vice President of the United States - Governor Mike Pence, thank you. Thank you everybody. Thank you."

He then displays a combination shrug and his torso turns AWAY from Pence (0:13 - 0:14) This is also very sudden, relatively dramatic and is unnatural in appearance.

This "Torso Turning Away" from the person who he's introducing (and with whom he is supposed to believe is the most qualified to run the country should something happen to him) - is a profound example of disparity between spoken language and nonverbal language. This dynamic shows disrespect for Pence - as well as a lack of confidence in either his VP decision and/or Pence himself.

Whenever the two are incongruous - it's the nonverbal signals which tell the true thoughts and emotions - not the spoken word.

After Trump shakes Pence's hand and pats him/holds Pence's right shoulder (we can't see good detail here), Trump then pat's Pence's left shoulder twice - but not fully. Trump's right hand shows us that he doesn't want to fully touch Pence - look closely. When we pick up a dirty rag, typically we only use our thumb and forefinger - the rest of the fingers "play keep-away". This is a distancing phenomenon/insulating behavior. It also has overtones of disgust. In the video above this is of lower resolution, yet it can still be seen.

In the context of an introduction such as this, it's normal for Pence to look directly at Trump's eyes (or whomever is introducing him). Yet after their hands' hands touch, Trump's eye contact lasts for only for about 1.5 seconds. Thus Trumps spends very little bonding time in this introduction. This is a very symbolic moment and more time should be spent here. This is the public's moment to see them bond - and thus experiencing the bonding vicariously.

Whenever two people meet and shake hands - even if they've met 1000 times, this is an occasion when direct eye contact should occur for 3-4 seconds (whereas in other parts of the ensuing conversation this may feel like a bit like staring, but this is not so during the handshake). To not do so projects a lack of respect (although there can be other reasons - what are some of these?). Because he's formally introducing the potential next vice-president (and even a potential president considering Trump, if elected, would be the oldest first term US president in history), the audience and public should see more warmth and brotherhood in this moment - but simply it's not there.

Unbelievably, Trump then just walks away and leaves Pence alone. The significance of this literal, metaphorical and nonverbal abandonment cannot be over stated - it's a faux pas among faux pas

Note that Pence's smile in this moment is sincere, but Trump's facial expression is anything but sincere - not even a remotely. Moreover there is a component of disgust on Trump's face. It's also worth mentioning that Governor Pence has some type of braces on his upper teeth. Many adults wearing braces are very self-conscious and thus find it difficult to smile sincerely.

During another portion of the speech (won't allow embedding however link is here and captured in the image immediately above at the 10:45 mark) of the same event, Trump continues, "Now I think, if you look at, one of the big reason's I chose Mike - and one of the reasons is party unity, I have to be honest. So many people [strong inhalation, disgust display], have said, 'Party Unity', cause I'm and outsider ..."

Incredibly, the song that was playing over the PA just prior to Trump coming on stage was The Rolling Stones, "You Can't Always Get What You Want".

In addition, the primary reason for this speech was introducing Mike Pence, yet Trump spent the vast majority of time discussing other issues.

In summary, Donald Trump displays significant disgust either directly for Pence or about his own choice in Governor Mike Pence as his VP pick. He transmits multiple examples of nonverbal distancing behavior and lack of respect for Pence. Most importantly, Trump's disgust display when he speaks of other people preaching "party unity" implies that he felt significant pressure from outside his team to pick a running mate who was not his first choice.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3624: Terrorist Attack in Nice, France - Body Language of the Perpetrator

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3623: Donald Trump's VP Pick - Mike Pence & Chris Christie

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3503: John Kasich interview regarding Republican Convention

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3309: Delta State University Shooting (Mississippi) Suspect Shannon Lamb - Body Language Red Flags

Negotiation Secret No. 83: Barack Obama - The Subtle Turn-Away

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3539: Conspicuous by it's Absence - Donald Trump's Missing Expression

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2688: Bill Belichick at Post-Game Press Conference, His Words are in Disparity with His Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2312: Bruce Willis' Body Language - Contempt vs. Suppressed Smile vs. Pseudo Smile vs. Sincere Smile